By Anthony Caruso III
Posted: March 26th, 2014 at 12:38 am EST
In sports, rarely does an individual get to play their entire playing career in one state.
But, for Derrick Brooks, that was exactly the case, playing his entire career from high school to college to professional football in the State of Florida.
The 40-year-old began his journey at Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida. He then moved on to Florida State, where he played from 1992 through 1994.
He began his career at Florida State as a safety as a freshman. After one season, he was switched to linebacker.
After three years, a National Championship in 1993 and being named a two-time All-American, he decided to declare for the NFL draft. In the first round of the 1995 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted him with the 28th overall pick.
In the 1995 draft, the Buccaneers also drafted Warren Sapp in the first round. He was drafted with the 12th pick, and Sapp and Brooks will be right next to each other in the Hall of Fame.
“To share my football career with Warren was tremendous,” said Brooks. “I’m very humbled that we’re both in the Hall of Fame right next to each other. He is No. 280 and I’m going to be No. 281, and I can’t wait for the induction ceremony this summer.
On August 2nd, Brooks will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will be joined by Ray Guy, Claude Humphrey, Walter Jones, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan, and Aeneas Williams.
“I was ecstatic and emotional at the same time to be selected to football’s immorality,” said Brooks. “It’s very humbling to be a part of the NFL’s greatest players.”
Brooks said he will put his speech together closer to the event in August. He also said that when he reads his speech, he will be emotional and cry.
The following day, on August 3rd, he will be on the field at the NFL Hall of Fame game on Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 at 8 pm.
“No, I haven’t thought that far in advance,” said Brooks. “I know that attending the Hall of Fame game is a part of that weekend. I’m going to be excited to take it all in, not just the game, but interacting with the residents of Canton, Ohio, as they work very hard to plan the Hall of Fame weekend and be great hosts for fans and us, the Hall of Famers, all week long. I’m looking forward to all of the activities that I can participate in.”
Brooks will go in to the Hall of Fame as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he will join Sapp, who went into the Hall of Fame last year, and Lee Roy Selmon, who entered into the Hall of Fame in 1995.
“Having the ability to play for one team my entire football here in Florida is an another important factor,” said Brooks. “I thank God for the opportunity to do that, and I have used that to my advantage. Again, to be able to do that here in Tampa, Florida, is something that everyone will be proud of.”
Brooks said he was disappointed that former Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy was not elected to the Hall of Fame this year. Dungy was a finalist for the Hall of Fame, before not being selected on the final vote.
“I hope Coach Dungy gets in,” said Brooks. “I think coach Dungy deserves it as everyone else. But people have told me that in due time Coach Dungy will be put in the Hall with us. At this particular time, I wish I could have shared it with him, but this year, this is my year, and I’m going to do the best I can to enjoy every minute of it.”