Jerry Remy ends leave of absence

Jerry Remy

Jerry Remy announced Monday he would return to the Boston Red Sox broadcast booth this year, ending a leave of absence that began in August, when his son was charged with murder.

Remy's son, Jared, was charged with the Aug. 15 fatal stabbing of girlfriend Jennifer Martel, the mother of the couple's 5-year-old daughter. Jared Remy pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail. He is scheduled to go on trial in October.

Jerry Remy has spent the months since out of the spotlight, dealing with his disbelief, his grief and mourning the loss of the mother of his grandchild. During his half-hour talk with reporters Monday, his first public comments since the tragedy, Remy on multiple occasions expressed his deepest sympathies to the Martel family.

"I don't in any way want to take away what they have had to deal with, what they have had to go through. It's by far the worst day of my life, and obviously the worst day of the Martels' lives," said the 61-year-old Remy, whose tone was described as solemn. "They don't have the comfort of talking to her, of seeing her. They'll never see her again. Her daughter will never see her again."

Remy and his wife, Phoebe, are one of three parties who have applied for custody of 5-year-old Arianna Nicole Remy, he said. The child is currently in state custody.

Remy said that as recently as December he didn't think he would return to the broadcast booth, both because of concerns over whether it would be appropriate for him to be calling baseball games and whether he could be himself on the air.

He is beloved among Red Sox fans for not only his baseball knowledge but his sense of humor and easy banter with NESN play-by-play partner Don Orsillo.

"I felt for a couple of months, for two or three months, that it was over," Remy told reporters. "There's no way I was coming back."

He said it was only after talking with close friends and his wife that he decided to return.

"[They reminded] me about my career, and where it came from, and where it is," said Remy, a former player and a lung cancer survivor.

"When I got drafted as a baseball player, I got drafted [late], and I made it to the big leagues. I wanted to quit, my father talked me out of it. When I started this [broadcasting] job, [I was] awful. I was terrible. I couldn't wait for the first season to be over. I wanted out. Didn't quit. Continued on for 26 years.

"When I got cancer, I wanted to quit. I didn't, it drove me to depression, it came back, I continued on. Some of these things started to resonate a little bit with me.

"I don't intend to be a quitter. Don't intend to be one now. It's what I do. It's what I know. It's what my comfort level is. It's where I feel I belong and I feel I'm going to do so as long as possible. I hope in no way that my decision to come back to do games has a negative impact on the Martel family. I'm quite certain they understand I have to make a living, and unfortunately mine is in the public eye. I'm quite certain they understand that."

Remy said he informed Orsillo on Monday that he would return. His longtime partner asked whether the duo would still be able to be light-hearted at times, as they had in the past.

"If I didn't think I couldn't be myself, I wouldn't do it," Remy said. "I hope that doesn't come off as insensitive. It may be to some. But that's the only way I know how to do my job.

"I'm sure there will be people who are very upset with me. It's the only way I know how to do a game. I've thought of all these things a thousand times, believe me."

One of the final steps before making the return official was a CT scan, which came back clean. He missed most of the 2009 season recovering from lung cancer.

Once that hurdle was cleared, Remy decided the time was right.

"I can't just sit in my chair," he said. "I've been there long enough already."

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