A former New England Patriots guard who once joined his three New York City firefighter brothers during a ceremony heralding the return of football following the Sept. 11 terror attacks witnessed another tragedy on Monday — and selflessly began helping those injured at the Boston Marathon.
Joe Andruzzi, who won three Super Bowl rings with the Patriots during five seasons, attended Monday’s race to support runners raising money for his foundation supporting cancer research, NFL.com reports. Andruzzi, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2007, sprang into action following the bombings and appeared in a viral photograph on Twitter carrying a victim to safety.
“Jen and I are safe,” Andruzzi posted on Twitter on Monday, reassuring people who were concerned for him and his wife. “Thanks for all the tweets.”
Andruzzi later thanked emergency personnel in a subsequent message and released a statement thanking “countless individuals” who responded to bloodied and frightened marathon participants and their supporters.
“Marathon Monday should be about uplifting stories, personal challenges and fundraising milestones, but today’s bombings irrevocably change that,” Andruzzi said in a statement obtained by NFL.com. “While I appreciate the interest in hearing our perspective on today’s horrific events, the spotlight should remain firmly on the countless individuals — first responders, medics, EMTs, runners who crossed the finish line and kept on running straight to give blood, and the countless civilians who did whatever they could to save lives. They were the true heroes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this senseless tragedy.”
Andruzzi, who played 122 games during his nine-year career, retired in 2006 after two seasons with the Cleveland Browns.