It’s obvious, given some of the many awards he has won, that former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ linebacker Derrick Brooks was one of the greatest players ever to play his position in the National Football League. He was an 11-time Pro-Bowl selection, a nine-time All-Pro selection and the 2002 AP Defensive Player of the Year – the season in which the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. It also is evident, given some of the awards that he has won, that Brooks was also one of the game’s greatest ambassadors and gentlemen. In 2000, he won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and in 2003, he was awarded the Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award. (White was the former 1940s NFL All-Pro running back who ended up later becoming a United States Supreme Court justice.)
So it was an inevitability that Brooks was going to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day, and that day is officially today. A Lot of Sports Talk would like to congratulate Derrick Brooks on this amazing achievement, especially given the fact that we had the honor of spending a few minutes with him back in September of 2012 while he, and a few other NFL greats, were promoting NFL Play60 in the Chelsea Piers section of Manhattan. The following interview is from that event, and we got to know firsthand how much hard work had to be put in to make the once downtrodden Buccaneers a consistent winner, then a Super Bowl champion. He also told us about “throwing the rope back,” a mantra he has lived by in terms of giving back to his community and to the next generation of kids.
Enjoy the interview, and enjoy the 2014 NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies tonight.
[Cover photo courtesy of Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports]