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Hall of Fame Journey: Chapter 1

Posted Jul 13, 2014

The first part of our journey through Derrick Brooks’ Hall of Fame career takes us back to his hometown of Pensacola, Florida. The roots of this Hall of Famer helped shape him into the person he became, both on and off the field, that Bucs fans have grown to know so well.

Derrick Brooks, with the help of his younger siblings Anthony and Latoya (Murvin), help narrate the story of what life was like growing up in their Pensacola home. Though they admit their mother and father were strict, Derrick gives credit to his upbringing for the high expectations he holds for himself every day. Education was always preached to come first, while sports, particularly football, were a privilege that could easily be taken away. Performing at anything below an A-level in school was simply not an option. Being self-proclaimed “academically blessed,” Brooks was a quick learner in the classroom, which is undoubtedly something that helped him throughout his prolific career.

While academics were a priority, Brooks wouldn’t be in the position he is today without exceptional football talent. Derrick’s childhood friend Walter Benjamin recalls his play on the field as being electric. “He was like a stick of dynamite. Derrick would hit you and explode you.”

It wasn't only his friends that noticed his exceptional talent though; everyone witnessed his greatness. “It was always about being the best, and I think he had a vision for himself that maybe not everybody else around him saw” said High School coach Steve Williams. Before he left for Florida State, Derrick gave Coach Williams a school photo of him with a special message on the back.

Check out the video to see what he wrote: