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Ex-Bucs LBs Derrick Brooks, Jeff Gooch move into Tampa Bay Storm's front office

Derrick Brooks, right, with Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke, hopes to enter NFL ownership someday. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik also owns the Arena League’s Storm.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Derrick Brooks, right, with Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke, hopes to enter NFL ownership someday. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik also owns the Arena League’s Storm.

TAMPA — Storm wide receiver Michael Lindsey grew up in St. Petersburg, so when the news came down that former Buccaneers Derrick Brooks and Jeff Gooch were joining the Arena Football League franchise's front office, he couldn't have been more excited.

"I've been a huge Bucs fan my whole life," Lindsey said. "I always loved watching those guys."

Brooks, who turns 38 Monday, and Gooch, 36, were formally introduced as president and vice president, respectively, during a news conference Tuesday at the St. Pete Times Forum.

For Lindsey, the Bucs' Super Bowl run in 2002 will always be fresh in his mind.

"When (Brooks) intercepted that ball in the Super Bowl and took it to the house, everyone in my neighborhood was running around yelling and screaming in the streets," he said. "I will never, ever forget that."

With the Storm off to a rocky 1-3 start, coach Dave Ewart joked that putting the pair into uniform crossed his mind.

"I've already run through that idea," he said. "That was actually my first thought."

Brooks, an 11-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Bucs, brings instant name recognition to a franchise that has seen a major turnover in roster from the 2010 season in which the Storm reached the ArenaBowl.

"(Brooks) has done so much on and off the field in this community," said Lindsey, one of 12 new Storm players this season. "It's an honor to have him with us."

Brooks will direct all aspects of the business and football operations, hoping the experience will help his long-term goal of being involved in NFL ownership.

"It's a good day for this organization," Ewart said. "We just got a lot stronger. It also opens up a direct line of communication between us and (the owners)."

Brooks, who addressed the team before Tuesday night's practice, said with the Storm in the midst of its season, he will concentrate on building for the future.

"Right now, we're setting foundations," he said. "We're not into going in and blowing up a house. There's a season going on and we respect that."

Brooks noted the addition of the two front-office positions alleviate some of the Ewart's off-field responsibilities.

"Right now, what we can do for Coach Ewart is take some of the things off his plate that he had before," he said. "Now he can really just focus on the football team and getting these guys going again. And I think that's a support system that he didn't have, that he has now."

But Brooks also thinks he can contribute immediately as well.

"We've observed a lot of things as we worked to get this deal done," Brooks said. "We're going to salvage our season."

Ex-Bucs LBs Derrick Brooks, Jeff Gooch move into Tampa Bay Storm's front office 04/12/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 9:38pm]
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