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Derrick Brooks wants to keep playing, though a return to Tampa Bay Bucs seems unlikely

TAMPA — Derrick Brooks says he is preparing to play a 15th season after several teams have contacted his agent.

He says he would be open to returning to the Bucs if the team that released him Feb. 25 wanted him back.

That possibility appeared even more remote Tuesday as the Bucs were engaged in talks aimed at landing Bills free-agent linebacker Angelo Crowell.

The Bucs continued to focus on defense, hosting Crowell and former Browns cornerback Daven Holly. The team also is in discussions with Jaguars tackle Khalif Barnes, who visited Monday.

Crowell, 27, has struggled with injuries the past two years but has 42 starts.

He could compete for either outside linebacker spot vacated by the release of Brooks and Cato June.

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik has made it clear he expects linebackers Quincy Black, Adam Hayward and Geno Hayes to push for playing time.

Meanwhile, Brooks is looking to move forward with his career and training as if he will be with another team in 2009. Brooks said his agent, Roosevelt Barnes, has indicated he will be part of the "second wave'' of free agency, which normally takes place after the draft in April.

"I'm doing what I always do this time of year, preparing to play," Brooks said. "The only change is where I'm doing it.''

Although it appears virtually impossible, Brooks said he would consider returning to the Bucs if they needed him.

"All 32 teams I'm entertaining, including our own," Brooks said. "If something happens and they call me, I'll consider that. Most people think once a team cuts you, you want nothing to do with them. But if they called, I would listen to what they have to say."

Brooks, who turns 36 on April 18, told NFL.com Tuesday that he still had "the Jones'' to play. "I committed myself to playing one more year. I had one more year left on my contract before I was released," Brooks said. "I wanted to finish that out and get to 15. Getting to 15 is still my plan."

But later in the day, Brooks told the Times that not much had changed since his release two weeks ago.

"I do want to play one more season, but I'll evaluate that option about returning if the right opportunity comes my way," Brooks said. "To me, it's not changed since my press conference.

"It's no different than what I said before, I'll entertain this option just like I entertain other options. If one is more suitable, I'll take it, in terms of football, non-football, something in the community, whatever it may be."

Holly, 26, played in 29 games for the Browns in 2006-07, starting 18. He suffered a season-ending knee injury during a practice in May competing for a jump ball with receiver Braylon Edwards.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Holly had five interceptions in 2006, returning one for a touchdown. He was a seventh-round pick by the 49ers in 2005 out of Cincinnati. He played three games for the Bears as a rookie.

Derrick Brooks wants to keep playing, though a return to Tampa Bay Bucs seems unlikely 03/10/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 7:04am]
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