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Former NFL lineman Joe Andruzzi: 'I am definitely not a hero'

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Joe Andruzzi carries a woman from the scene following the explosions at the Boston Marathon. (Getty Images)

In the midst of the horrifying bombings that occurred Monday at the Boston Marathon, scores of heroes emerged as police, medics, military personnel and civilians rushed into the chaotic scene moments after the explosions to aid the injured.

Ten-year NFL veteran Joe Andruzzi said he is not one of those heroes. After reading this account, you'll probably disagree. The offensive lineman who played for the Patriots, Browns and Packers was one of the first responders and helped usher a wounded woman to safety.

To the 37-year-old Andruzzi, though, his actions were nothing out of the ordinary.

“I am definitely not a hero,” Andruzzi told the Boston Globe on Tuesday. “I am just a bystander, and that led to my help. Many heroes that I look upon are people like my three brothers that are running into burning buildings when others are running out. Explosions are going off, and they are driving their cars down Boylston [Street] right into the heart of the scene. They are the people that don't care about their safety and are worried for other people's safety and survival.”

Andruzzi is right about his siblings. Three of his brothers, all New York firefighters, were among the first responders on 9/11. But Joe Andruzzi did them proud Monday, as well.

He was behind the finish line, looking for the 21 runners who had raised $163,000 for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation (which assists families dealing with cancer) and were competing in the race. A few of those runners had to be hospitalized to deal with concussions and lacerations. But after the bombings, Andruzzi immediately began to help. He didn't catch the name of the woman (in the photo above) whom he helped, but he knows she is from Virginia and was with her three daughters as spectators.

“It was starting out to be a great day, great event and, unfortunately, it did not end up that way,” Andruzzi said.

Instead, Andruzzi helped out the afflicted. But he also was proud of his fellow heroes.

“During this whole tragedy, I was amazed by all of the emergency workers there and how they sprung into action. It was truly amazing,” he said. “It was a medical tent that turned into a triage center. And from the yellow jackets to the white jackets to the police, firemen, EMTs, when I tell you that it was split seconds, I could not believe how fast they sprung into action.

"A lot of them are trained for that. But even the others who aren't trained, civilians sitting on the side that sprung into action, it was truly amazing. It's one of those sights that you'll probably never forget. To be able to turn around and know that there are many people out there that are looking to help and want to help -- when you get into those moments, you don't think; you just do. That's what I did, and that's what many other people did.”

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