Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brooks to Miss Pro Bowl

Due to a family illness, Bucs LB Derrick Brooks will be unable to attend this Sunday's Pro Bowl; Tampa Bay's all-star group now consists of WR Keenan McCardell and DE Simeon Rice

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LB Derrick Brooks was voted to a team-record seventh consecutive Pro Bowl this season, but he will be unable to attend the game

And then there were two.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' representation in the 2004 Pro Bowl, once four players strong, has been cut in half.

Linebacker Derrick Brooks was voted to his team record seventh Pro Bowl this season, but he will miss the game due to a family illness, it was announced Monday. Previously, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who also earned his seventh all-star nod, was replaced on the NFC roster due to foot and ankle injuries.

Tampa Bay will still be represented by wide receiver Keenan McCardell and defensive end Simeon Rice. Rice will be the Bucs' lone starter on the NFC squad; McCardell is a reserve, one of four receivers on the conference team.

Brooks was scheduled to start in the Pro Bowl for the sixth year in a row, a streak that began in 1998, one year after his run of Pro Bowl selections began. Instead, Brooks will be replaced on the roster by Dallas linebacker Dexter Coakley and presumably in the starting lineup by San Francisco's Julian Peterson.

Brooks (along with Sapp) passed Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon for most Pro Bowl invites by a Buccaneer after recording 151 tackles, one sack, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and nine passes defensed this season. Brooks has had at least 130 tackles for eight consecutive years and has averaged more than two interceptions per season in that span. He was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2002.

The 2004 Pro Bowl will be played this Sunday in Honolulu, Hawaii. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

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