With three finalists among the 15 greats on the ballot, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a pretty good shot at having at least one new member named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday.
And like he did so many times during his 14 year career, Derrick Brooks came through.
The 39-year-old former linebacker is the third Bucs player to be elected into the Hall, following the late Lee Roy Selmon and teammate Warren Sapp. Brooks was elected in his first year of eligibility, just as Sapp was a year ago.
At the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on August 1 in Canton, Ohio, Brooks will be joined by fellow honorees Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones, Bills receiver Andre Reed, Giants defensive end Michael Strahan and Cardinals safety Aeneas Williams, and two senior candidates, Raiders punter Ray Guy and Falcons defensive end Claude Humphrey.
Former Bucs safety John Lynch and former coach Tony Dungy both were among the 15 finalists for the Hall for the first this year, but did not make it to the round of 10. Tampa resident Eddie DeBartolo, the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, was a finalist for a third straight year but did not win election.
The Tampa Bay Times reports Brooks' happiness over his own induction was tempered by sadness over his colleagues not making the cut.
"I started thinking about the other guys that didn't join me that I have a personal relationship with," said Brooks, co-founder of Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School in Tampa. "Now it's my job to do everything I can to help John, Tony and Mr. D get over the hump."
And, in honor of Brooks, let's remember one of our personal favorite NFL United Way commercials starring "Mr. Derrick Brooks."