Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12 days of Bucsmas: Day 9

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TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 16: Linebacker Derrick Brooks #55 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches play against the Atlanta Falcons at the Raymond James Stadium on December 16, 2007 in Tampa, Florida. The Bucs won 37 - 3 and clinched a playoff berth. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had quite a few defensive stars in their short history. While all of them were crucial to the Bucs success in 2002, perhaps none more than Derrick Brooks.

In 1995, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Derrick Brooks out of Florida State University. Brooks was a dominant player in college, but players can only dream to achieve the levels of success he had in the NFL. Over his career, he had 25 interceptions, 1710 tackles and forced 24 fumbles. All of these numbers added up to a Hall of Fame career. Derrick Brooks is one of the few Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Hall of Fame. He was the leader of the defense for his 14 seasons in the league. His best season came in 1998 when he had 158 tackles along with two forced fumbles and an interception. These would be some great numbers for future linebackers in Tampa Bay to look up to. Years later, Bucs fans still make comparisons to one of the most beloved members of the history of this franchise. Since coming into the league, Lavonte DAvid has carried the torch. Can Kwon Alexander continue the trend?

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Off the Field

Not only was Derrick Brooks a pillar for the super bowl championship team of 2002, but Brooks was well respected around the community. To this day the DB55 foundation works with youth in the Tampa area to bring educational programs and other resources to those in need. Although most of us fans knew him as a football player, Brooks strived to be much more. His quote from his Hall of Fame inductance speech captures the essence of who Brooks was to Tampa.

“I want you guys to know when the Bucs drafted me, I gave them my commitment and gave them my all.  And part of that commitment as a servant leader stands before you today.  Finally, as a servant leader, I want to go about it with a great deal of humility.  Because I believe, as my mother taught me, it’s never, never in a position to toot your own horn, because humility as I once learned is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

Thank you Derrick Brooks for who and what you represent to Bucs fans everywhere.

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