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Joe Andruzzi, New England Patriots, Super Bowl Champion
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Born in Brooklyn, New York, but raised in Staten Island, Joe played football at Tottenville High School. He also played college football at Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven), where he majored in special education.
In 1997, Joe was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Green Bay Packers and then in February 1998 played football in Scotland for NFL Europe. He was released from the Packers after three seasons before being picked up as an offensive guard by the New England Patriots in 2000, where he went on to earn three Super Bowl rings.
In 2001, Joe and his wife, Jen, were introduced to C.J. Buckley, who had an inoperable brain tumor. The families became very close and, therefore, it was devastating when C.J. passed away late in 2002. Always driven to help others in need, Joe helped launch the C.J. Buckley Brain Cancer Research Fund at Children’s Hospital. In recognition of his contributions, he received the Ed Block Courage award in 2002 and the first Ron Burton Community Service award in 2003.
Additionally, as a brother to three New York firefighters who were all involved in the 9/11 attacks, Joe organized a trip for 100 New York firefighters to attend a Jets vs. Patriots game at Gillette Stadium in 2002. Joe, his father and brothers were the honorary captains of this game.
In February 2005, Joe became a free agent and was picked up by the Cleveland Browns. He played with them for two seasons. On May 30, 2007, Joe was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma, predicted to double in size within 24 hours. The family relocated back to New England and Joe had the most aggressive chemotherapy treatment over three months at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He admirably fought the disease with strength and courage. Joe’s last treatment was on August 6, 2007. He then spent a year at home in recovery.
Joe has been in remission since then and lives a healthy life with Jen, their four children, and their two dogs. Together, Joe and Jen run the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, which is tackling cancer’s impact by providing financial assistance for patients and their families as well as funding pediatric brain cancer research.