After playing in two Thanksgiving Day games in his career, former Patriot Joe Andruzzi knows how to survive a short week in the NFL.
Andruzzi was a member of the 2000 and 2002 New England Patriots when they traveled to Detroit on Turkey Day.
The 2013 Patriots are coming off a hard-fought win in Buffalo Sunday and will play the division rival Jets Thursday. With New England in the midst of a short week so early in the season, Andruzzi explained how he prepared for football on such a week.
"This could be the best situation for the Patriots having a short week come so early in the season," said Andruzzi, who was at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, R.I. Monday visiting kids with cancer with the hope to lift their spirits. (See story titled: "Former Patriot Giving Back" for more info on Andruzzi's trip to Hasbro.)
"It's good so early, because the Patriots have just come off training camp," he said. "They are used to the long days of hitting each other every day. When I played on Thanksgiving, it was a few months in, right in the middle of a long season. It's much tougher. So it could be better for the Patriots now, but really, no matter where you have a short week, it's going to be tough."
After playing on Sunday, Andruzzi said his approach to a short week was to do everything he could do to help his body recover. Most of the preparation was done away from the practice field.
"After giving it your all on Sunday, win or lose, you need a day to recuperate," said Andruzzi. "You do what you can do and that's focusing on the upcoming game mentally."
When he was focused mentally, Andruzzi, who played 10 seasons as an offensive lineman in the NFL, said it's all about body recovery.
"You're looking at 96 plays in a football game on Sunday," he said. "Playing a game in the NFL takes a toll on your body. When we come in the next day after a game, it's a day I hit the workouts. I want to get blood flowing throughout my body, especially in my legs. Being a lineman, my legs are important so I did a number of squats to hit my legs. I also ran and hit my legs with heat and ice to get the blood flowing. Other guys got massages and treatment to injuries and try to heal from soreness. We did anything to help recover faster."
NFL writer Albert Breer reported this week the Patriots have only participated in walkthroughs with no actual on-field practice. It appears not much has changed since Andruzzi played for the Patriots.
"PAY IT FORWARD!"
"Pay it forward," was Andruzzi's mantra at Hasbro Children's Hospital this week as he has made it his mission to help cancer patients and their families.
|Andruzzi bringing smiles at Hasbro(Kevin Saleeba / Patriots Insider)|
Andruzzi was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2007 which ended his football career. After successfully beating the disease, he formed the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, an organization committed to providing "help, hope, and a reason to smile" for cancer patients and their families. The Foundation provides grants to those affected by cancer - allowing them to pay pressing bills like rent or mortgage bills, utilities and other household expenses. It also plays out in the form of (Up)Beat opportunities like Andruzzi's recent visit to Hasbro and last month's hosting of cancer patients at Patriots Dream Camp.
Also, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation's "Points for Patients" Campaign looks to be a game changer for cancer patients and their families with the assistance of National Grid, CBS Radio and the Place restaurant. Local energy provider National Grid will donate $500 to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation for every New England touchdown scored during the 2013 – 2014 NFL season. National Grid will also match donations made by the public, dollar-for-dollar up to $75,000, to the Points for Patients campaign. In addition, The Place restaurant in Boston will donate 25 percent of all sales generated during New England football games this season to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, with a minimum donation of $25,000. National Grid will also host patient families selected by the Joe Andruzzi Foundation at all New England home games through 98.5 The Sports Hub Patriots Radio Network and CBS Radio Boston.
Kevin Saleeba is the senior editor and columnist for Patriots Insider. A former beat writer for local media, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinSaleeba