May 6 2014, 11:13pm CDT | by Poch de la Rosa
Scott Smith of the Buccaneers' official website reports on May 6 that Brooks will just be the third player in franchise history to have his number retired, following in the footsteps of Warren Sapp (No. 99) and Lee Roy Selmon (No. 63):
"During a press conference to announce that he would be the next person inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneer's Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium, Derrick Brooks learned he was also going to bear an even more exclusive distinction in franchise history.
"Co-chairman Jay Glazer, whose family purchased the team the very same year Brooks was drafted, in 1995, made the announcement: The Buccaneers wil retire the No. 55 that Brooks wore for 14 unparalleled seasons.
"Brooks joins Warren Sapp (No. 99) and the late Lee Roy Selmon (No. 63) as the only three players to have their numbers retired by the franchise. Those three are linked in many ways: They're all Ring of Honor members, they all got the call from the Pro Football Hall of Fame and they all won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors as Buccaneers.
"And, of course, those three are almost inarguably the three best players in franchise history.
"'My family and I look forward to making the trip to Canton this summer to help celebrate the culmination of Derrick's football journey, where Derrick will receive the highest honor pro football can bestow,' said Glazer.
"'Then, in Week 2 of the season as we take on the St. Louis Rams, we will honor Derrick as the sixth inductee into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ring of Honor. And, in addition, we will bestow Derrick with the Buccaneers' highest honor. On that day, we will retire No. 55.'"
Brooks told Smith it is "a tremendous honor."
"It's extremely important. Walking in, (it was) said that this was probably one of the worst-kept secrets alive today, but I don't look at it that way. As I told Mr. Glazer, you don't take anything for granted, you don't make any assumptions.
"Today is a very important day in my life and to have my number retired is extremely special on top of that.
"No one has worn it since I left, but to know that it's part of this franchise's history is a tremendous honor. I've had the opportunities to have my number retired in high school and college, but this is a little different for me, because every time something goes on in that stadium and they see that number up there they get a piece of me."
Auman adds more details about Tuesday's announcement:
"Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer introduced Brooks as the leader of the franchise's Super Bowl champs while emphasizing his ongoing work off the field with charities and the high school that bears his name is much more impressive than what he accomplished in a helmet and pads.
"His first coach, Tony Dungy, attended Tuesday's announcement, as he did linebackers coach, current Bucs head coach Lovie Smith, along with several former teammates."
Brooks was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 1. Upon his enshrinement in August, his bust will be placed across Sapp's. Sapp was inducted into Tampa Bay's Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013, per WDAE.
Brooks was an iron man on the field who was a standard of excellence for linebackers during his prime. He never missed a single game during his 14-year NFL career and played in 11 Pro Bowl games -- including nine consecutive, according to the WDAE update.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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