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Arizona legend Tedy Bruschi returning as senior advisor to head coach Jedd Fisch

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Tedy Bruschi Getty

The greatest defensive player in Arizona Wildcats history is returning to the program.

Tedy Bruschi, UA’s career sacks leader and a centerpiece of the Desert Swarm defenses of the 1990s, has been hired as a senior advisor to head coach Jedd Fisch.

Per a UA release, Bruschi will “serve as a member of the executive football management team while serving as a consultant with the entire football staff. He will also assist the head coach in alumni relations, fundraising, social justice initiatives and student-athlete development off the field.”

Bruschi’s hiring was first hinted at by Fisch, who shared this puzzle on Twitter:

The two met in Massachusetts right after Fisch was hired in December.

“Arizona Football just got better today by the addition of another College Football Hall of Famer, New England Patriots Hall of Famer and Arizona Football Ring of Honor member to our staff,” Fisch said in a statement. “Tedy Bruschi represents everything we want from our student-athletes. He knows what it takes to do things right on and off the field and has demonstrated success in all facets of life throughout the years. Tedy is a true friend and ally who understands what it takes to win; respect accountability, selflessness, and enthusiasm. Tedy has always been the best at what he does, and this is another opportunity to bring greatness to our entire program. I want to welcome Tedy and his family back to Tucson. It’s Personal!”

The 47-year-old Bruschi returns to Tucson after 11 years as an NFL analyst for ESPN, which followed a 13-year NFL career with the New England Patriots that included three Super Bowl titles. From 1996-2008 Bruschi played 189 games at inside linebacker, registering more than 1,000 tackles with 30.5 sacks, 12 interceptions, 17 forced fumbles and 12 fumble recoveries.

His playing career was briefly derailed by a stroke suffered in February 2005, causing him to miss the first seven games of the 2005 season. In 2007 he wrote a book titled Never Give Up: My Recovery and My Return to the NFL, and since has founded a non-profit in conjunction with the American Stroke Association called Tedy’s Team.

Bruschi played defensive end for the UA from 1991-95, earning All-American honors in 1994-95 with the 1995 nod unanimous, before getting drafted in the third round in 1996 by the Patriots. The 1995 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year had 55 career sacks, nearly 30 more than any other player in UA history, and in 2013 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

“I am very excited to re-establish my connection to the Arizona Football program,” Bruschi said in a statement. “Coach Fisch, and his vision for the program, is the main reason for my new level of involvement. I look forward to assisting Coach Fisch and the program in any way I can as we develop the next generations of Wildcats who are purposeful, resilient and original. Bear Down!”

Fisch has now added four former UA football stars to his first staff. Ricky Hunley is Arizona’s defensive line coach, Chuck Cecil is coaching safeties and Brandon Sanders is the coordinator of football alumni and high school relations.