Though most NFL players use the last month before training camp to get away, several Tampa Bay Buccaneers have remained very much in the public eye in recent days. And for good reason.
Last Monday, during the same week in which Warrick Dunn was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, Derrick Brooks visited Oklahoma to be honored in a similar vein.
Brooks, the Bucs 13th-year linebacker and a surefire Hall of Famer for his work on the field, appeared at the Rotary Club of Tulsa's 15th annual award ceremonies on Monday to receive the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award in front of a sell-out crowd. Brooks shared the stage with five-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings; the awards program annually distinguishes one male and female athlete who best demonstrate the high degree of citizenship that Henry P. Iba exemplified throughout his illustrious basketball coaching career.
It's fitting that Brooks and Dunn were feted for their off-the-field work in the same week. The two veterans and long-time teammates both belong to the very exclusive club of men who have been named the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year. Brooks was the co-recipient of that award in 2000 while Dunn took the honor in 2004.
Brooks was honored for his outstanding work and leadership in the community. He established Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc. in 2003 to enhance the lives of children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. His programs and efforts have inspired youth to overcome social and cultural boundaries and provided them opportunities to develop into strong and productive leaders. Serving as spokesman for a variety of causes and participating extensively in community events each year has earned Brooks the recognition as one of the most philanthropic players in the NFL.
In attendance at the ceremonies to present the trophy and a $10,000 donation to the Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc. was Pat Jones, former Oklahoma State University football coach. Kurt Budke, Oklahoma State University's women's basketball coach, presented the trophy and a $10,000 donation to Tamika Catchings, whose Catch the Stars Foundation provides academic and sports related programs for at-risk youth.
The evening also included remarks by master of ceremonies and former Iba Award recipient Rebecca Lobo as well as keynote speaker Bill Self, head basketball coach of the 2008 National Champion Kansas Jayhawks. Approximately 1,000 guests attended the event, proceeds from which went toward the Rotary Club of Tulsa's Community Fund, which has donated more than $1.65 million to charities.