Barber: Not even dry ice could keep Brooks off the field
As he's inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend, you'll hear much about the fact that Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks never missed a game in his 14-year NFL career.
Teammate Ronde Barber saw the toughness of Brooks throughout his career, and said the closest he came to missing a game was self-inflicted, from of all things, dry ice.
Barber remembers a plane ride home after a road game -- the records suggest it was 2008, after a game at Atlanta in Brooks' final season -- and Brooks suffered a rib injury. The ice that had been applied after the game had melted, and Brooks sought relief from the dry ice used to keep ice cream cold on the flight home.
"He took one of those dry-ice packets and put it up on his ribs, and he fell asleep," Barber said. "Half an hour later, it was stuck to him, like freezer burn on his skin. I was sitting next to him, and he had this massive skin patch off, and he almost missed the game because of the dry-ice burn. Of course, he didn't."
Brooks has the Bucs' team records for games played (224), games started (221) and playoff games (11), and Barber said the dry ice reminds him that nothing could keep Brooks from the game he loved and the teammates he loved to play with.
"Brooks was one of those guys where it didn't matter," he said. "It didn't matter what was wrong with Derrick, he was going to play and he was going to be the Derrick we all knew. For me, that rubbed off on me, and there was nothing I wouldn't play through. I wanted to follow that example."