Linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8th season in pro football & with Buccaneers
College: Florida State
Height: 6’0” Weight: 235
The Buccaneers took Brooks in the first round of the 1995 NFL draft, and he moved into the lineup at OLB and was second on the team with 79 tackles as a rookie. Steady and solid, with outstanding range, he was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first of 10 straight years in his third season. He was used effectively both against the run and in pass coverage and regularly led the team in tackles. The defense fueled Tampa Bay’s rise into a contender, although Brooks was coming off a 2001 season in which he played hurt for most of the season.
2002 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
(Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20)
Sacks – 1
Interceptions – 5 (10, tied)
Most interceptions, game – One on 5 occasions
Int. yards – 218 (3)
Most int. return yards, game – 97 (on 1 int.) at Baltimore 9/15
Int. TDs – 3 (1)
Fumble recoveries – 1
Fumble recovery TDs – 1
Forced fumbles – 1
Tackles – 88
Assists – 31
TDs – 4
Points – 24
Postseason: 3 G
Sacks – 0.5
Interceptions – 2
Int. return yards – 44
TD – 1
Awards & Honors:
NFL Defensive Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-NFC: Pro Football Weekly
Buccaneers went 12-4 to finish first in the NFC South while leading the NFL in total defense (4044 yards allowed), passing defense (2490 yards), fewest points allowed (196), and touchdowns allowed (18). Won NFC Divisional playoff over San Francisco 49ers (31-6), NFC Championship over Philadelphia Eagles (27-10), and Super Bowl over Oakland Raiders (48-21).
Brooks continued to excel and was a consensus first-team All-Pro again in 2004 and ’05. His career finally came to an end when he was released by the Bucs following the 2008 season – still having been chosen to the Pro Bowl for the 11th time. Over the course of 14 seasons, Brooks had 13.5 sacks, 25 interceptions that he returned for 530 yards and 6 touchdowns, and over 1300 tackles.
MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself). Also includes Associated Press NFL Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.