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Remy returning to Red Sox booth for 2014 season

NESN voice since '88 makes difficult decision after taking leave of absence on Aug. 15

BOSTON -- Jerry Remy, a fixture broadcasting Red Sox games on NESN since 1988, announced he will return to his post for the 2014 season.

Remy took a leave of absence on Aug. 15, 2013, after his son, Jared, was arrested for the murder of longtime girlfriend Jennifer Martel.

With the trial still pending, Jerry Remy agonized in recent weeks over whether he should return to work.

He ultimately took the advice of his family and friends, including his wife, Phoebe.

"I had two main concerns -- obviously, what the public would think, and whether I could be myself," Remy told a small group of reporters at the NESN studios on Monday. "My answers at that time were no. ... I couldn't find a reason to come back. I just couldn't find it."

In recent weeks, however, his perspective started to change.

"I've never been a quitter, and I don't intend to be one now. I've been in professional baseball in some capacity for 40 years. It's what I do," Remy said. "It's what I know. It's where my comfort level is. It's where I feel I belong and where I feel that I'm going to continue to do so for as long as possible."

Ever since the death of Martel, Remy has expressed his outrage that something so tragic could happen to someone he considered to be family.

"Last August 15, we lost a beautiful woman," Remy said. "She was energetic. She was a wonderful mother. She was a person who was trying to make a better life for herself through going to school, wanted to become a teacher. It's been an incredible loss, obviously, to the Martel family to lose their daughter, Jen.

"Jen was also very close with us, very close with my family, with my daughter, with my son. We can't even imagine or feel the pain that the Martels are going through and have been going through daily since this tragedy. We've also gone through a lot of pain. I don't want in any way to take away from what they've had to deal with, what they've had to go through. But it was by far the worst day of my life, and obviously the worst day of the Martels' life. They don't have the benefit now of speaking to her, talking to her. They'll never see her again. Her daughter will never see her again."

Though he is going back to work, Remy is still coping with the devastating loss of Martel.

"People have told me in time that things get better," he said. "Time has not gotten things better. I still feel the same way today as I felt on the night of August 15th. ... It became worse and worse. The initial shock, the initial grief all got worse. There was no possible way that I felt I could come back last year to do Red Sox baseball.

"I'm sure there will be people out there who will be very upset with me, and I'm sure there will be people that are happy I'm coming back. I have no way to predict right now what the response is going to be. I know one thing, I work for very smart people here at NESN and with the Red Sox, and if the response is overwhelmingly negative, they'll take care of it."

When Remy gets back in the booth with play-by-play man Don Orsillo, he plans on keeping the same light-hearted and insightful approach during games that has made him so popular among Red Sox fans.

"That's what I've always been," Remy said. "I don't see how else I can do it. If I didn't think I could be myself, I wouldn't do it. I hope that doesn't come off as insensitive. It may to some, but it's the only way I know how to do my job."

Remy, a native of Somerset, Mass., played for his hometown Red Sox from 1978-84. He is in the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
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