Bucs to induct Derrick Brooks into Ring of Honor, retire his No. 55

Sept. 14 ceremonywill make linebackerteam's sixth honoree

adell@bradenton.comMay 7, 2014 

Buccaneers Ring of Honor Football

Former Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks speaks during a news conference Tuesday in Tampa. ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHRIS O'MEARA — ASSOCIATED PRESS

TAMPA -- Almost from the day he put on a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform, Derrick Brooks was considered a special player.

Now you might say it's official.

In a move that surprised virtually no one who follows the team, the Bucs announced Tuesday that the linebacker will be inducted into the organization's Ring of Honor and have his famous number 55 retired.

The ceremony will take place Sept. 14th at Raymond James Stadium during halftime of the Bucs game against the St. Louis Rams.

Brooks will become the sixth player in the Bucs franchise history to be inducted in the Ring of Honor joining Lee Roy Selmon, former head coach John McKay, tight end Jimmie Giles, offensive tackle Paul Gruber and defensive tackle Warren Sapp.

A 2014 first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer, Brooks will be the third Buccaneer to have his number retired, joining Selmon (No. 63) and Sapp (99).

"It's extremely important," Brooks said. "It was said this was probably one of the worst-kept secrets alive today, but I don't look at it that way. As I told (Bucs owner) 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."

Brooks' number hasn't been worn by a Buc since he joined the team in 1995 out of Florida State as the 28th overall pick. He retired after the 2008 season, and the Bucs have not allowed anyone to wear number 55 since then.

"No one has worn it since I left, but to know that it's part of this franchise's history is a tremendous honor," Brooks said. "I've had the opportunities to have numbers 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."

The 6-0, 235-pound Brooks was a vital player on the Bucs' 2002 Super Bowl championship team and was instrumental in turning around the once-struggling franchise.

He was selected to 11 Pro Bowls to rank third in league history behind Junior Seau and Ray Lewis and was the NFL Defensive Player of The Year in 2002. Brooks was the fourth player in NFL history to be selected to 10 consecutive Pro Bowls, earn Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year honors and win a Super Bowl.

He ranks second in club history in games played (224) and starts (221) and is the franchise's all-time leader in playoff appearances and starts (11). During his 14 seasons as a Buccaneer (1995-2008), Brooks ranked as the most prolific tackler in franchise history with 2,198 stops and led the defense in tackles for seven consecutive seasons (1998-2004), pacing the club in that category in nine of his 14 seasons.

He had 25 career interceptions, 25 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, 13.5 sacks, 135 passes defensed and 10 special teams tackles. His 25 interceptions rank fifth in team annals. Brooks totaled six career interception returns for touchdowns during the regular season to rank second in team history and scored seven regular-season career touchdowns, second-most in team history by a defensive player. He also is the only linebacker in NFL history to have three interception returns for a touchdown in a season (2002), and his four touchdowns on turnovers (2002) are tied for second-most in a single season in NFL history. Brooks added an interception return for a score in Tampa Bay's Super Bowl XXXVII victory.

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