Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs hope to return for Brooks' enshrinement

CANTON, Ohio — The Bucs celebrated their second Hall of Famer's induction Saturday, but there could be more merriment to come one year from now.

Former LB Derrick Brooks becomes eligible for election to the Hall in 2014.

"I don't want to predict the emotions and say I'd feel this way or that way," said Brooks, who attended Saturday's ceremony for former teammate and DT Warren Sapp and six others. "I'd rather take it all in stride. But being here for the first time, it's breathtaking, to say the least. I look up on that stage, and there's some guys I played against and some guys that I looked up to. And (Hall election is) something that would be hard to put into words."

The addition of Brooks would be another nod to the Bucs' greatest era.

"(Sapp) is the first of, I hope, a few guys who make it to Canton," Bucs GM Mark Dominik said, referring also to former coach Tony Dungy, S John Lynch and CB Ronde Barber. "I just think it's good for our football team and our town."

Dungy, who also attended the ceremony, worked under the assumption he'd be back next year for Brooks. "It'll be another special one for me no matter what," he said.

Sapp acknowledged Brooks' role in his success during his acceptance speech.

"Derrick Brooks, he was with me that day," he said, referring to draft day 1995. "And without you, dude, ain't no way we would've turned (the Bucs) around."

For Brooks, being considered among the game's elite would be the ultimate: "You always want to pay homage and let (the greats) know you're grateful for the foundation that they laid and the sacrifices that they made. You just hope you returned the favor and made the game better."

Hurricanes galore: Sapp became the sixth University of Miami player inducted into the Hall. He joined LB Ted Hendricks, C Jim Otto, QB Jim Kelly, WR Michael Irvin and DT Cortez Kennedy. During his speech, Sapp gave a resounding shout-out to 'Canes fans. "It's a 'Cane thing," he said. "You wouldn't understand."

Ogden reflects: The Ravens could not have done better with the franchise's first draft pick, taking OT Jonathan Ogden out of UCLA at No. 4 overall. He is now a Hall of Famer.

"When I came to Baltimore in 1996, we had no team," he said during his acceptance speech. "We had no history. We didn't even have team colors. We just had a name.

"In the back of my mind, I was saying, 'I don't really know where we're going with this right now.' But (GM Ozzie Newsome), who just drafted me, assured me our goal is to make a winner here. And I told him I want to be a part of that."

Tough choices: Former coach Bill Parcells, recalling the frequent choices he made to uproot his family when changing jobs, talked about the difficulty of those decisions in his induction speech.

"I used to gather (his three daughters) around when they were schoolgirls at the kitchen table and tell them that we were going to have to move again," he said. "To look at the dismay and consternation and uncertainty on their faces was very painful to me."

But his children, Parcells said, overcame the challenges.

"I see them as grown women, raising families of their own. They know how proud I am of them, how much I love them."

Love at first bite: Cowboys OL Larry Allen credited his wife, Janelle, for helping him have a successful career. How did she win his heart?

"On our first date, she cooked for me," he said during his acceptance speech. "She cooked me two chickens, french fries and baked me a cake and gave me a 40-ounce (beer).

"I knew then that was my wife right there."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]com.

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