By: WDAE Staff
In February, the NFL announced Derrick Brooks was joining football immortality. Tuesday afternoon, the Buccaneers followed suit, honoring one of their greatest players in history.
The former linebacker will be the next Buccaneer to have his name inscribed in the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium, an honor that comes as a surprise to very few. Brooks was elected to the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame on the eve of Super Bowl XLVIII and will be enshrined in Canton this August, with his bust slated to sit across from Warren Sapp's - last year's Ring of Honor Inductee and the second Bucs player elected to the Hall.
Throughout his illustrious 14-year career, Brooks never missed a game and was named to 11 Pro Bowls - including 9 consecutive trips - and was an All-Pro a staggering 8 straight times. In addition, Brooks was revered as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 and made the NFL All-Decade team for the 2000's.
The drafting of Brooks along with Hall-mate Sapp back in 1995 helped turned around what was a losing franchise and culminated in a Super Bowl win in 2002.
In 224 games played - all for Tampa Bay - Brooks made 221 starts, recorded 1,301 tackles, 13.5 sacks and 25 interceptions - six for touchdowns, including one in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XXXVII that ensured a Bucs victory over the Oakland Raiders.
Brooks, one of the most popular figures in Tampa Bay sports history, joins Lee Roy Selmon, John McKay, Jimmy Giles, Paul Gruber and Sapp as the sixth man in the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.
Official Buccaneers Release:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that they will induct 2014 first-ballot Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks into the club’s Ring of Honor during halftime of the team’s home game against the St. Louis Rams on September 14. The team will also formally retire No. 55 in honor of Brooks’ contributions to the franchise.
Brooks will be the sixth inductee into the team’s Ring of Honor, joining Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, former Head Coach John McKay, former Pro Bowl tight end Jimmie Giles, former All-Pro tacklePaul Gruber and Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Brooks will also be the third Buccaneer to have his number retired, along with Selmon (No. 63) and Sapp (No. 99).
Brooks (6-0, 235) entered the National Football League as a first-round selection (28th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1995 NFL Draft, becoming an unquestioned leader of the Buccaneers and arguably the most respected player in the NFL during his 14 years in the league. He was an instrumental component in turning the franchise into a consistent contender and was a member of the Super Bowl XXXVII championship team in 2002. As a team captain, Brooks was the cornerstone of one of the league’s elite defenses, helping to lead the team to a top 10 ranking in total defense in 11 of his final 12 seasons.
Brooks’ club record 11 Pro Bowl selections rank third in NFL history at the linebacker position, behind only Junior Seau and Ray Lewis. Brooks also earned Pro Bowl MVP honors in 2006 and was chosen as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2002. Brooks is just the fourth player in NFL history to be selected to 10 consecutive Pro Bowls, earn Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year honors, and win a Super Bowl. He also earned All-Pro honors from the Associated Press for eight consecutive seasons (1998-2005), garnering first-team honors in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005; and second-team honors in 1998, 2001 and 2003. During his career, Brooks earned NFC Player of the Week honors six times and Player of the Month honors twice.
Brooks ranks second in club history in all-time games played (224) and starts (221), and is the franchise’s all-time leader in playoff appearances and started (11). During his 14 seasons as a Buccaneer (1995-2008), Brooks ranked as the most prolific tackler in franchise history with 2,198 stops and led the defense in tackles for seven consecutive seasons (1998-2004), pacing the club in that category in nine of his 14 seasons. He also added 25 career interceptions, 25 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, 13.5 sacks, 135 passes defensed and 10 special teams tackles. His 25 interceptions rank fifth in team annals. Brooks totaled six career interception returns for touchdowns during the regular season to rank second in team history and scored seven regular season touchdowns in his career, second-most in team history by a defensive player. He is also the only linebacker in NFL history to have three interception returns for a touchdown in a season (2002) and his four touchdowns on turnovers (2002) are tied for second-most in a single season in NFL history. Brooks added an interception return for a score in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl XXXVII victory.
Off the field, Brooks has made a lasting impact in the Tampa Bay community, and even upon retirement, has remained one of the NFL’s most active former players in his charitable work. In 1995, he started the “Brooks Bunch” program, a community initiative providing unique experiences for at-risk children. The program sponsored trips to Africa, Washington, D.C., the western United States and more, offering educational opportunities and college visits for Florida youths. In March 2003, he established his own foundation, Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc., which focuses charitable endeavors on supporting children and has done considerable work with March of Dimes, D.A.R.E., as well as the Belmont Heights, Ybor City and Brandon Boys and Girls Clubs. In October 2006, Brooks also helped establish the Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School in Tampa, a charter school with a mission to provide youngsters a high-quality, challenging education with rigorous and relevant curricula, thereby enabling students to make valuable and productive contributions to the community.
Brooks has received numerous awards for his civic work, including the 2000 Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year award (co-recipient), which honors a player's volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field; the 2004 Byron “Whizzer” White Award, which is presented annually to the NFL player who serves his team, community and country in the spirit of Byron Raymond White; and the 2003 Bart Starr Award, given to the NFL player, voted on by his peers, who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.
Brooks and his wife Carol have four children: daughters, Brianna and D’nia, and sons, DeCalon and Darius.
For more information about Brooks’ induction into the Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor and his path to Canton, visithttp://www.buccaneers.com/HOF/.
Photo: Getty Images