Tampa Bay Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks found out Saturday night that he’s one of seven players who’ll be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in just his first year of eligibility.
Brooks was one of the stars of the team’s outstanding defense in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He was a Pro Bowler eleven times. When the Bucs won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, he was AP Defensive Player of the Year. And I will never forget his interception-return for a TD in the fourth quarter that sealed the deal against the Raiders. He had 25 interceptions for Tampa Bay over his 14-year career.
Brooks will join Warren Sapp and the late Lee Roy Selmon as the only Buccaneers inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two other Bucs – former linebacker John Lynch and head coach Tony Dungy – did not make it this year. But it’s probably just a matter of time before they do.
On Saturday night, Warren Sapp became just the second Buccaneer to be enshrined in Canton (Lee Roy Selmon is the other.) Sapp was one of seven players to be inducted into the Hall.
He joined the Bucs in 1995 when the team was awful. Two years later, Tampa Bay was in the playoffs. In 1999, he was there in St. Louis when the Bucs played in (and nearly won) the NFC Championship game. And on January 26, 2003, he was celebrating a Super Bowl title on the field in San Diego with John Lynch, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and the rest of his teammates. Expect to see Brooks in the Hall next year.
Sapp’s career was defined by his relentless pass rush, and sacks – a lot of them. He finished his career having taken down quarterbacks 96.5 times (some of those came with the Raiders.) He was also known for having a big mouth; there’s no denying that. I will never forget all of the times he and Brett Favre were seen yapping it up. Those who had to line up against him will argue that Sapp’s mouth went a bit too far. Such is life.
Warren Sapp will be inducted into Tampa Bay’s Ring of Honor during halftime of the Monday night against the Dolphins on Nov. 11.
To see Warren Sapp’s entire Hall of Fame speech, click here.