Derrick Brooks on Tony Dungy, prepping for Hall of Fame speech and more
With his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame a week and a half away, Derrick Brooks held a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning to talk about a number of issues.
Let’s start with his remarks on the controversy du jour – former Bucs coach Tony Dungy’s recent remarks that he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam because of the hoopla that would have accompanied the NFL’s first openly gay player. Responding to a question on the subject, Brooks prefaced his response by saying he hadn’t spoken with Dungy yet.
The rest of Brooks’ reply: “I just generally feel that he’s probably saying what 31 other teams were probably thinking in that regard. They didn’t draft him, for whatever reason. He was just saying, if he were a head coach, this is how he would have approached the situation, or approached the player’s situation.”
Brooks said he wasn’t in a position to judge whether Dungy was being treated fairly for his remarks.
Brooks also said that he’s trying to approach his induction speech like he does most others. He’s thought a lot about what to say, but he doesn’t plan to write too much in advance so he can speak from the heart, with his thoughts of soaking in the environment in Canton, too.
“For me, I just want to get up more so and obviously thank people that were big influences on my football career, my life,” Brooks said. “At the same time, leave with a message of who Derrick Brooks is today and who Derrick Brooks wants to be moving forward.”
Brooks has drawn praise for being an all-around linebacker, rather than a sack master like many of today’s top players at that position. Brooks said that’s just part of the game’s evolution, away from 4-3 defenses and toward a 3-4.
“I just think it’s where the game is right now…” Brooks said. “I just think it’s more just an evolution of the game to where it is and what guys were asked to do. Some guys were bigger, stronger, faster with different skill sets, and teams are doing the best they can to use players’ skill sets in various defenses.”