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Joe Andruzzi: A new playing field for former Patriot

His days of fighting D-linemen are over. In 2011, the cancer survivor is helping others beat the disease.

Joe Andruzzi is no longer a pro football player; the three-time Super Bowl champion retired after the 2006 season.

He takes just as much pride in his new role.

These days, the former Patriots offensive lineman advocates for families of cancer victims through his Joe Andruzzi Foundation. He beat non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma nearly four years ago.

“When people talk about athletes, a lot of times there’s nothing but bad news about them in the paper,” said Andruzzi, who’s hosting the Joe Andruzzi and Friends golf tournament at TPC Boston in Norton on Monday. “What I went through, I’m trying to pay it forward. There’s people out there that are struggling. I know firsthand what they’re going through.”

The foundation doesn’t pay medical bills. Instead, it helps their families fulfill other obligations, like the mortgage or utility payments.

“When I went through it, I was the one in the hospital bed,” Andruzzi said. “But I know what my wife and my kids, the whole family, everybody, goes through. It’s a burden. We try to lift some of the burden off certain families.”

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