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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

June arrives in December of Brooks' career



Derrick Brooks needs to get healthy and back on the field.

Not just because hamstring strains can linger for months. But because at 34, Brooks doesn't have a lot of sand in his hourglass and linebacker Cato June has been a wrecking ball.

With Brooks out, June has conveniently shifted over from strong side linebacker to weakside linebacker in passing situations, the position Brooks plays.

June_2 June, 27, is fast, instinctive and a heck of a pass defender in coverage. All the things that made Brooks a 10-time Pro Bowl player.

"I think he looks great,'' Gruden said of June's performance in Brooks' position. "He looks really good, just like he looked for Indianapolis. He's a very instinctive, very fast, very tough football player. He loves it and we need speed on that position in this defense.''

Brooks knew he could not practice Sunday, but still decided to dress out in full pads for the morning workout.

"He's hurt,'' Gruden said. "He came out in pads but he was not able to practice. He wants to be a part of it any way he can and he is a leader on this team. And by dressing out, that's the smart thing to do.''

It's too early to say Brooks is in danger of losing his job. But the Bucs won't hesitate to play June in his place if things don't go well early this season.

(Pictured: Cato June. Getty Images. Click to enlarge.)     

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:46pm]


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