That’s Derrick Brooks in a nutshell. As I see him.
Number 55 officially retires today, two years removed from the playing field and a year after his unceremonious and abrupt dismissal from the Buccaneers. His professional achievements are astonishing:
Nearly 2,200 tackles made over 14 seasons. (There are probably running backs who still have nightmares about Brooks coming after them.) Eleven trips to Hawaii as a Pro Bowl player. A Super Bowl ring. Recognition as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. A repeat All-Pro player.
And while I loved to watch him play -- there was a primitive poeticism to watching the Bucs defense in those halcyon days at the turn of this century -- I love to watch his work off the field even more.
Charitable and committed, Derrick Brooks is as passionate about making his community a better place as he was to stopping the running games of his opponents. He has received accolades and myriad honors -- including multiple various incarnations of the NFL Man of the Year for his remarkable efforts with his charities and his advocacy for education.
By the way, he is also one of the few Florida State Seminoles I genuinely like. Coming from this third-generation UF graduate, this is a serious admission. Speaks volumes, actually.
So today we celebrate and remember the football career of one the greatest Buccaneers to ever grace the team – heck, he’s one of the greatest linebackers ever, in my opinion. Here’s to you, Mr. Derrick Brooks. Amazing athlete. Even better human being. Thank you.
Canton is now officially on notice.