"This is my official retirement announcement," Brooks said. "I simply want to say thank you to all of you fans that supported Derrick Brooks as well as the Buccaneers throughout my 14 years."Brooks went on to thank his family, Bucs ownership, his former coaches, teammates, singling out former defensive tackle Warren Sapp, cornerback Ronde Barber and former defensive end Simeon Rice. A special retirement ceremony will be held at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday.
Brooks played all 14 seasons in Tampa Bay where he became the franchise's all-time leading tackler with 2,196. In 1998 Brooks had a personal high tackle total with 189. That was the fifth-highest single season total in Bucs history. He also has the fifth highest total of interceptions in franchise history with 25 interceptions returned for 530 yards and six touchdowns. Brooks had seven total defensive touchdowns, which is second in franchise history behind cornerback Ronde Barber's 13 touchdowns by a defensive player (11 on defense and two on special teams).
During his Bucs career Brooks was extremely durable. The Florida State product Brooks played in 224 games for Tampa Bay. The most of any player in franchise history. Brooks went to 11 Pro Bowls in those 14 seasons, and his most recent appearance was for his final season when he was an injury replacement.
Brooks was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in the 2002 season when the Buccaneers won their only Super Bowl Championship. That season Brooks became the only linebacker in NFL history to have three interceptions returned for a touchdown. He scored four touchdowns in the regular season, and then another in the Super Bowl that sealed the victory for Tampa Bay.
In 2008 Brooks was hampered by injuries, but still started every game for the 13th straight season. He finished second on the team in tackles with 111. Brooks also had seven tackles for a loss, one interception, one forced fumble, and eight passes defensed in his final season.
While Brooks will be always be remembered in Tampa Bay for his great play on the field, he also is treasured for his philanthropy off the field. Brooks started a charter school in Tampa, among many projects and charity work he did in the Tampa Bay area. Even though he was no longer a Buccaneer, Brooks has continued to stay active in the Tampa Bay community.