Derrick Brooks is a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL). In 2003, Brooks was a key member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers triumph in Super Bowl XXXVII, and won a national championship while on scholarship with Florida State University. He played in Pensacola for Washington High School and later played 14 years for Tampa Bay. Brooks was instrumental in turning the Buccaneers from perennial doormats into eventual Super Bowl champions.
High School Career
Brooks starred at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola. In his junior year of 1989, Washington went to the state playoff semifinals where they lost to eventual state champions Bradenton Manatee. In 2007, he was named to the Florida High School Association All-Century Team, which selected the Top-33 players in the 100-year history of high school football in the state of Florida.
At Florida State University (FSU), Brooks was a four-year letterman from 1991-1994 and was selected first-team All-American his senior year. Brooks was a key element on FSU's first-ever National Championship when the Seminoles defeated Nebraska 18–16 in the 1993 Orange Bowl. The Seminoles are coached by legendary Bobby Bowden. FSU had suffered their only defeat of the season to a second-ranked Notre Dame team, but their path to the National Championship was cleared a week later when the Irish were upset at home by Boston College. While Brooks was at FSU, the Seminoles won the ACC Championship in 1992, 1993 and 1994.
Due to academic excellence, Brooks graduated early with a 3.8 GPA and earned a communications degree. He later received a master's degree.
Awards / Honors
- 3 times: First-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) (1992, 1993, 1994)
- 2 times: College Football All-America Team (1993, 1994)
- ACC Defensive Player of the Year (1993)
- 2 times: Vince Lombardi Award (nation's best linebacker) finalist (1993, 1994)
Tampa Bay had two first-round selections in the 1995 NFL draft. At number 12 they took defensive tackle Warren Sapp from Miami. With the 28th selection, the Buccaneers selected Brooks. The 28th pick had been acquired from the Dallas Cowboys, whose roster already comprised Pensacola native Emmitt Smith.
Brooks has long been considered one of the premier outside linebackers (OLB) in the NFL, as respected off the field as he is feared on it. He was selected to the Pro Bowl every year from 1997 to 2007, but his 10-year streak ended in 2007, as he did not make the 2008 Pro Bowl. He was selected to the 2009 Pro Bowl, his 11th selection. Only five players in NFL history have been voted to 10 Pro Bowls, named Defensive Player of the Year, and become a Super Bowl Champion: Brooks, Mike Singletary, Reggie White, Lawrence Taylor, and Ray Lewis. He has also been named All-Pro nine times. Brooks currently leads all defensive players in consecutive starts, surpassing the 200 start mark late in the 2007 season.
Brooks also was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press in 2002. The same year, Brooks returned three interceptions for touchdowns in the regular season, an NFL record for linebackers, and also returned a fumble for a score for a total of an NFL record four defensive touchdowns at the OLB position. In Super Bowl XXXVII, his 44-yard interception return for a touchdown ensured a victory for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay would go on to defeat the Oakland Raiders 48–21 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.
Brooks earned 2006 Pro Bowl MVP honors by returning a Trent Green pass 59 yards for a touchdown, leading the NFC to a 23-17 victory. He has also won the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award in 2004 for his off-the-field accomplishments in the Tampa Bay community. The award is given annually to an NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.
Brooks was released by the Buccaneers after 14 seasons on February 25, 2009.
On September 17, 2009, Brooks made his TV debut on the ESPN2 program "First Take."
NFL Awards / Honors
- 6 times: First-team All-Pro: (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005)
- 3 times: Second-team All-Pro (1997, 1998, 2001)
- 9 times: First-team All-NFC (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005)
- 11 times: Pro Bowl selection (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)
- Co-Walter Payton Man of the Year Award (2000)
- NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award (2002)
- Super Bowl Champion (Super Bowl XXXVII)
- Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award (2004)
- Pro Bowl MVP (2006)
Derrick Dewan Brooks was born April 18, 1973. He is married to Carol Brooks and have four children: their daughters Brianna Monai (11) and Denice (born September, 2005) and sons, Derrick Brooks, Jr. (7) and Darius Dewan.
Brooks has donated much of his money to charity. In addition Brooks donated $1,000 for every tackle he made against the Seahawks (10) which was a total of $10,000. Brooks is the founder of the Brooks Bunch charity and youth scholarship foundation in the Tampa Bay area. He has taken local youngsters across the nation and South Africa with the objective of presenting a first hand experience, or a "mobile classroom." Brooks also headed the founding of the Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School in Tampa.
Brooks is well known for his charity work and his advocacy of the importance of education. He was the co-recipient of the 2000 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, (with Jim Flanigan) and was named to the FSU Board of Trustees in 2003 by Governor Jeb Bush.