Derrick Brooks…my man.

derrick-brooks

Tampa Bay Bucs fans are shocked and saddened by yesterday’s announcement. And I am, too. Because the NFL career of one of the all-time greats could be over. Future Hall-of-Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks was released yesterday. On the way out, Coach Raheem Morris called him a “legend.”

Not only was I fortunate enough to attend Florida State University at the same time Derrick Brooks played, I actually had a couple of classes with him. I used to roll my eyes and make a commotion when he’d sit in front of me every once in a while. The guy’s neck was thicker than my quad! Huge! So with big Derrick in front of you, you couldn’t see anything. And the guy seemed to always have a smile on his face. Very big. Very dangerous-looking. And yet, Derrick seemed to always have a gentle spirit about him. Truly seemed like a good guy. Here’s what he said was his favorite Bible verse:

His favorite scripture verse is Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

No, I didn’t know him all that well personally. And there’s no way he’d ever remember me. But we were always proud of the way he played football for FSU…and even prouder of the way he handled himself off the field as well. Sure, we glorify football players way too much these days. But this guy was and is special. How many football players end up on the Board of Trustees for the university? Derrick did. He’s helped to start schools and made a huge difference in the lives of many Tampa kids over the last couple of years. Here’s what he had to say about FSU back in 2003:

“Florida State helped me grow from a boy into a man,” Brooks said. “It taught me the value of loyalty, friendship, family and winning. Success is contagious. We were the best and it was fun to show it. We worked hard to stay at the top. Now I can use my FSU lessons to be the best man I can. Representing the garnet and gold never, never gets old.”

You’ve represented us well, Derrick. Good luck to you in whatever life holds for you in 2009 and after your football career is over. And here’s hoping that there’s more “Derrick Brooks”-type players still to come for FSU.

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 7:43 am  Leave a Comment