Agent tells newspaper LB might not play

BOSTON -- New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi is considering sitting out next season for health reasons, The Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

Bruschi's recently hired agent, Brad Blank, told the newspaper that the Pro Bowler is contemplating whether he can play next season after being treated for a mild stroke last month.

"I can relate to you only that Tedy is considering not playing next year," Blank told The Globe. "Beyond that, I cannot comment on anything."

The 31-year-old Bruschi was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital on Feb. 16 and released a couple of days later. However, an Arizona television station reported that Bruschi was readmitted to the hospital so doctors could repair a hole in his heart.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick declined to comment on Bruschi's medical condition.

"Tedy has made all the comments. I leave it at that," said Belichick, who is in Hawaii for the NFL owners meetings.

Bruschi, a nine-year veteran, has been a key member of the defense that helped New England win three of the last four Super Bowls.

Bruschi, who has three years remaining on his contract, hadn't been represented by an agent since his rookie season. He's scheduled to earn $850,000 in 2005, $1.35 million in 2006 and $1.70 million in the final year of his contract. His deal would be voided if he retires, but he could earn his full salary if the team elects to place him on its physically unable to perform list.