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Boston Bruins Bergeron on TB12: ‘Will To Win Was Bar None’

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Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron became the longest-tenured active athlete in the pro sports scene in Boston when Tom Brady exited the New England Patriots a couple of years ago, so there’s always been a mutual appreciation between a pair of players that did things right over their long careers filled with winning and team accomplishments.

It’s no surprise that Bergeron had some very complimentary things to say about TB12 after the quarterback decided to officially announce his retirement on Tuesday amidst reports and speculation that he’d made up his mind over the weekend after 22 brilliant, Hall of Fame years.

“His competitiveness first and foremost and they way that he approached the game,” said Bergeron, about what he appreciated about Brady watching him for 20 plus years. “The way that he competed and his will to win was bar none, the best I’ve ever seen and witnessed. It was a pleasure to watch for 22 years. An amazing career and a well-deserved retirement.”

The parallels are interesting, of course, after the 44-year-old Brady cited that he’d be unable to continue his competitive commitment of excellence at this point in his life with a young family and interests outside of the football world. He was obviously still at an incredibly high level of play on the gridiron and wasn’t in decline, so this was about family considerations and giving back to those that have sacrificed for his football success.

Bergeron was asked if any of that resonated with him as a 36-year-old that may be weighing the same kind of decisions at the end of this season when his contract is up with the Boston Bruins.

“It’s always that thing where you want to make sure you’re fully committed to the game and committed to playing it at a high level and the right way,” said Bergeron, who obviously has his own legacy of winning with World Junior gold, Olympic Gold, a Stanley Cup win and four Selke Trophies on his resume. “Especially as a leader you want to make sure you do that and that you’re [competing] to the best of your abilities for your teammates.

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“Make sure you create a bond and something to be successful, and to be winning ultimately. That what he’s been able to do throughout his career and kudos to him for doing it for such a long time. As far as for me, I’m focused, and I’m committed to playing the game.”

Interestingly enough, Bergeron said Brady’s unlikely run with the Patriots to the 2001 Super Bowl over the Greatest Show on Turf, the St. Louis Rams, resonated with his Midget AAA team when they were the underdogs during the playoffs as well.

“It’s funny, because when I was 16, playing midget triple-A back home, I think that was the year they won their first Super Bowl with that field goal, [Adam] Vinatieri,” said Bergeron. “It was a last-second thing and I think they were kind of the wild card to win it. For us back home, we kind of used that to our advantage as motivation to push ourselves to be our best. We were also in our playoff series, and we were the underdog. We kind of used that sequence or that game to give us some motivation.”

Who knew way back then that both Brady and Bergeron would be become pillars of leadership, competitiveness and doing things the right way in their two decades together representing the City of Champions?

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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