Brooks remembers Glazer for handshake, bold decisions
Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer was remembered for greeting players with his 'legendary handshake,' before and after games and as an independent leader who wasn't afraid to make unpopular decisions.
Hall off Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks said he made it a point to be one of the first players in the locker room on game day to greet Glazer.
Glazer died Wednesday. He was 85.
"You would always see him come into the locker room, the legendary handshake and well wishes before the game and the celebrations afterward,'' Brooks said Wednesday. "He was always one to respect our space and yet let us know how proud he was of our work.
"I will never forget, early in my career, he came through one game and I was in the back and (Bucs director of security) Andres Trescastro had to come find me. I felt so bad he was waiting on me. I told him, “You’ll never have to wait on me again. I will be right here when you come through.' I made sure I was one of the first in the locker room because I knew I never wanted the boss waiting on me. When Malcolm came through on Sunday, I wanted to be one of the first people he saw.’’
Brooks said Glazer wasn't afraid to make bold and unpopular decisions, such as the hiring and eventual firing of coach Tony Dungy.
"I remember some of the more serious moments, when had to hire coach Dungy,'' Brooks said. "He took a risk. It was an unpopular decision at the time but it was the right decision. In same breath, his decision to move away from coach Dungy and to Jon Gruden. We were at a point as a team when we needed new leadership and although it was unpopular, he understood that.
"People criticized him and said, "How could they pay $193 million the Bucs when to some it wasn't worth half that. The moves made over time proved he was right.''
The estimated value of the Bucs is somewhere in the neighborhood of $1-billion.
Brooks also credited Glazer with convincing NFL owners to award two Super Bowls to Tampa Bay following the construction of Raymond James Stadium, which opened in 1998.
"One of the top three or four moments is the stories I heard when he fought for Tampa to host a Super Bowl,'' Brooks said. "He refused to leave the floor at the owner’s meetings because he said it was ours, it was promised to the city for building the stadium. He fought for our business community and the fans and we got two Super Bowls under his ownership.''
Reaction to the news of Glazer's death came swiftly Wednesday.
Former Pro Bowl safety John Lynch remembered his generosity.
"Our family mourns the loss of Mr. Glazer,'' Lynch said in a text to the Times. "I will always have fond memories of my times working with him as a member of the Buccaneer organization. He was the patriarch of a family that was so good to me and my family and to the people of Tampa.''
Redskins president and general manager Bruce Allen, who was the Bucs' GM from 2004-08, remembered Glazer for his humor and love of children.
"Mr. Glazer was a self-made business genius with a great sense of humor and an obvious love for his family and all children,'' Allen said in a statement released by the Redskins. "The Glazer's Children Museum will continue to create a tremendous impact on all children for years to come.
Former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris got to know Glazer in his first NFL job as a defensive quality control coach in 2002.
"I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me by Mr. Glazer and his family from when I arrived in 2002 up until my departure,'' said Morris, who coaches defensive backs for the Redskins. "He was always very supportive of me and his family has been great to me. I send my prayers and thoughts to his wife, Linda, and his six beautiful children.''