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Derrick Brooks to become Tampa Bay Storm president, part owner

New Storm president Derrick Brooks, center, is flanked by vice president of football operations Jeff Gooch, left, and owner Jeff Vinik, right.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

New Storm president Derrick Brooks, center, is flanked by vice president of football operations Jeff Gooch, left, and owner Jeff Vinik, right.

TAMPA — Derrick Brooks is returning to pro football in Tampa Bay.

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Brooks will become president of the Tampa Bay Storm and will receive a stake in the ownership of the Arena Football League franchise.

Brooks, 37, said late Monday that the deal will be announced during a news conference today at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.

The Bucs' 11-time Pro Bowl linebacker officially retired from the NFL last year and has not played since 2008. He said he has been "intrigued" by working in the front office of a pro football team and opportunities to gain part ownership of a club.

"The ownership part of it is something that has always been very intriguing to me and something I discussed with (former NFL Players Association executive director) Gene Upshaw," Brooks said Monday. "I've discussed this side of the business for a long time, just quietly pursuing it, just learning it.

"I looked at something like this as a great opportunity, if it happens. There's still a few things to get worked out, but it's intriguing."

Brooks said that eventually he would like to be involved in NFL ownership and that the opportunity with the Storm will enable him to gain experience and explore those long-term goals.

"NFL ownership is something I can look at it," Brooks said. "This is another way to stay involved with football in terms of long-term goals. This is part of it. It's a chance to sit on other side of the table as a growing experience. Look at John Elway and the situation there where he was involved in Arena Football and look at it now in terms of him running the (Denver Broncos as general manager), and someone told me he may have some stake in the Broncos."

Brooks said he has never approached the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, about becoming part owner in the franchise where he spent 14 seasons.

"They're so tight knit with their family, with their generations, it's the way they do business," Brooks said. "It's always about family. I don't know if they would be open to something like that."

As a player, Brooks said he learned a lot about the business side of football from playing under Bucs general managers Rich McKay and Bruce Allen.

"I got to watch these two guys as GMs and had a lot of conversations with them privately," Brooks said. "I learned the mannerisms, how you want to be established and set the tone for the franchise. It wasn't ironic, when something needed to be done for the team contract-wise that my contract got reconfigured three or four times."

Brooks said he met with Lightning and Storm owner Jeff Vinik and was impressed by his management style.

"That's what's attractive," Brooks said. "If I'm going to get involved with it, it starts with Jeff at the top."

A former NFL defensive player of the year, Brooks said it will take some getting used to the high-scoring Arena League.

"For a defensive player, that's what I don't like," Brooks said. "It's a race to 55. Whoever gets to 55 tends to win. It's exciting. That's the brand and why the AFL has been able to stay around a long time. It found its niche."

Derrick Brooks to become Tampa Bay Storm president, part owner 04/11/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 2:11pm]
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