Friday, March 6, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Derrick Brooks set standard for NFL linebackers

Derrick Brooks

FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2007 file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Derrick Brooks reacts after the defense stopped the Washington Redskins on a fourth and inches during the third quarter of an NFL football in Tampa, Fla. Brooks will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

By
From page B9 | August 01, 2014 |

TAMPA, Fla. — Eighteen years later and now headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Derrick Brooks laughs at the memory of sitting in a hotel room the morning of a game early in his career.

He was turning on a TV and being riled by a national commentator who not only forecast another loss for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but jokingly referred to the struggling team as the “Yucks.”

The young, undersized linebacker who would go on to become the heartbeat of a Super Bowl champion turned to roommate Warren Sapp, another second-year pro embracing the challenge of transforming one of the worst franchises in pro sports history into a title contender, and the two of them locked angry eyes.

“I was upset. Sapp was beyond upset. … We thought we were turning the corner,” Brooks recalled. “We kind of looked at each other and I said: ‘This has got to stop. We’re not going to be defined by this.'”

As first-round draft picks in 1995, Brooks and Sapp entered the league with a team that suffered through 12 consecutive seasons with 10 or more losses before their arrival.

Along with hard-hitting safety John Lynch, they formed the cornerstone of a dominant defense that keyed a Super Bowl run in 2002 and ranked among the best in the NFL for more than a decade.

It’s difficult, though, for Brooks to talk about where he helped lead the Bucs during a Hall of Fame career without remembering that Sunday in San Diego.

That was when the “Yucks” rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to beat the heavily favored Chargers under a first-year coach named Tony Dungy, architect of the cover-2 defensive scheme the Bucs played so well it became known as the “Tampa 2.”

“The way we were able to come back and win that game, I attribute a lot of that to our turnaround,” Brooks said.

“Coach Dungy as a coach was about excellence. He had his quiet way of challenging us,” the 2002 NFL defensive player of the year added. “Some days I’d look at my grade sheet, thinking it had been a pretty good work day. He’d crumble it up and say it’s not good enough.”

At 6 feet, 235 pounds, Brooks was deemed by many to be too small to excel at outside linebacker in a league where bigger, stronger athletes such as Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas set a standard for the position as ferocious pass rushers.

That was a role Brooks rarely was asked to fill in 14 seasons with Tampa Bay.

Instead, he transformed the position by developing into one of the best all-around linebackers in league history, using his speed and quickness to make plays all over the field and ending his career with 25 interceptions, 13 1/2 sacks and 11 Pro Bowl selections.

The six-time All-Pro scored four touchdowns off turnovers in 2002, then capped the greatest season in franchise history with a 44-yard interception return for a TD during Tampa Bay’s rout of the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl.

“People say he didn’t rush the passer. He didn’t have to. That was my job. You can’t have one guy doing everything,” said Sapp, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2013, his first year of eligibility.

Brooks, a first-ballot selection this year, will be inducted on Saturday, joining his long-time friend and former roommate, as well as 1995 inductee Lee Roy Selmon as the only Buccaneers enshrined in Canton, Ohio.

“People ask me all the time, who was the best? Brooks was. He could touch every person on your team and they’d walk away feeling like: ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to follow him and go through the wall,” Sapp said. “He’s the greatest outside linebacker that never rushed the passer. Period. It’s not even close.”

Shortly after arriving in Tampa Bay, Dungy sat down with Brooks and Sapp individually and expressed his belief that they had the potential to mean just as much to the Buccaneers during their careers as Hall of Famers Jack Ham and Joe Greene did to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s.

Both of them took the challenge to heart, with Brooks emerging as the unquestioned leader in a locker room featuring dominant personalities, including the boisterous Sapp, Lynch, Keyshawn Johnson and Simeon Rice.

“He really was the soul of that team. … There was a special way that he went about his business and conducted himself,” Dungy said.

“He would come to me and say: ‘You need to be on the lookout for this.’ Or he’d tell me: ‘Here’s what’s going on,'” the former coach said. “He had the heartbeat of the team, and it was in his heart to be like that not only for the team, but the community.”

As good as Brooks was on the field, he’s been equally impressive off it, winning numerous awards for civic and charitable work. In 2006, he helped establish the Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School in Tampa.

“We had a stage that was big enough for everybody to stand on. And at the end of the day, just the way that I carried myself kind of put myself in a position where everybody felt they could depend on me,” Brooks said.

“I didn’t say anything unless it needed to be said, and I always backed it up with action,” he added. “I always wanted to be the type of person to make a rookie feel just as welcome as a teammate of mine for 10 years. I treated them both the same. I think that earned guys’ respect.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Random thoughts on getting older by Annabelle . . . and Susan

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Work progresses on freeway interchange project

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Solano College grad becomes Marvel superhero

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Caltrans announces planned I-80 closures

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

 
French guitarist brings world music to The Palms

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Bay Area Stage readies ‘Mockingbird’ production

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Let’s take a 2nd look at 1st cars

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Bike to School Day poster contest begins

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Youth talent, scholarship awards dinner set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

Free 8-week Journey Through Grief class set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Audubon Society to hold talk on blackbird decline

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

SF hospital performs rare chain kidney swap

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
El niño might not be enough to help Ca drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
App developers take a swing at playgrounds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Off-duty officer accidentally shoots relative

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Student protests block access to campus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

GOP legislator enters race for Boxer’s seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Japanese tsunami debris washing ashore

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Device in ‘Superbug’ outbreak not approved by FDA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
States on edge about the future of health insurance markets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Freight train carrying crude oil derails in Illinois

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Supreme Court allows for compassionate release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Air Force veteran who saved orphans in Korean War dies at 97

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Homeowners group denies playhouse for cancer-stricken girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Report: Suicides by girls and young women continue to climb

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Jurors in Jodi Arias case: We were 11-1 for death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Experts: Ferguson must move quickly to rebuild public trust

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Plane skids off LaGuardia runway, slams into fence near bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Father tells jury about boy’s death at Boston Marathon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Hillary Clinton email trove under review for release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Attack on US envoy part of S.Korea’s violent protest history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Last Ebola patient is released in Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Floods kill 42 people in Tanzania, authorities say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Death toll in east Ukraine mine blast reaches 33

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syria says it killed military leader of al-Qaida group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Iraq says Islamic State militants ‘bulldozed’ ancient site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Companies form coalition to conserve during drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 6, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 6, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Should I tell my coworker that her romantic emails are being read at work?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview March 6-12, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Shania Twain to launch final tour in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Elizabeth McCracken wins $20,000 short story prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Dying wish comes true: Dutch woman with ALS sees Rembrandts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Announcer Craig Sager returns from leukemia to NBA sideline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Comedy Central’s ‘Too Many Stars’ means plenty of laughs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Jaime Camil shines as telenovela star on ‘Jane the Virgin’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: ‘Unfinished Business’ should never have started

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Review: ‘Second Best’ Marigold Hotel lives up to its title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Entertainment calendar: March 6, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Hunter Pence breaks arm in Giants’ 8-6 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
 
Jones-Drew retires, Woodley released by Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Veteran defensive tackle Dockett joins 49ers on 2-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Maddon makes debut with Cubs in spring tie with A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Local Report: Labit pitches SCC to win over Folsom Lake

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

Prosecutors: No criminal charge for NASCAR driver Kurt Busch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
As NFLPA election looms, Smith hopes to keep ‘boring job’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Ashley, McConnell lead No. 5 Arizona to 99-60 rout of Cal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Holmes opens 4-shot PGA lead at Blue Monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Toyota rolls out first mass-market cars to run on hydrogen fuel cells

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Google providing car insurance quotes in latest expansion

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Can Etsy keep its folksy brand and make shareholders money?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Applications for US jobless aid inch up to a 10-month high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

A robust US job market is expected to keep delivering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
Largest US banks all pass latest round of Fed ‘stress tests’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Ringling Bros. Circus to give up elephant acts in 3 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Michele Jarvis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert Charles Thierry

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Thelma A. Roche

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9