Derek Jeter rides a Buccaneer exercise bike as GSSI technicians accumulate data
Derek Jeter covers holes, not running backs, and his hits are of the ball-to-bat variety, not pad-to-pad.
So why, on Friday afternoon, was the superstar shortstop working the exercise bike in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' weight room when the rest of his New York Yankees teammates were a few miles away at the Legends Field complex?
The answer lies in Gatorade, the sports drink for which Jeter is a high-profile spokesman, and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI). In conjunction with a new commercial being produced for the product, Jeter joined several representatives of the GSSI in the Bucs' workout room for what they termed a 'field study.'
With testing instruments attached to his body and cameras rolling, Jeter worked up a sweat on one of the Bucs' bicycle simulators. The GSSI has a laboratory, where they conduct research on sports nutrition and exercise science, but they also head out into the 'field' to involve their spokespersons in the testing.
Jeter arrived at the Buccaneers' complex shortly after 3:00 p.m. on Friday and needed less than an hour to satisfy the GSSI technicians. He then stopped for an interview with an ESPN The Magazine reporter before heading next door to meet Buccaneers Executive Vice President Joel Glazer.
Jeter, who has more hits over the last four seasons (813) than any player in baseball and more runs (496) than all but Jeff Bagwell, has won four World Series rings in the last five years with the Yankees. Last week, Jeter agreed to a lucrative new contract that will keep him in New York for the next 10 years.
That also means he'll be in Tampa for each of the next 10 springs, though he's likely to spend far more time at Legends Field than One Buc Place.
Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks earned his second straight first-team All-Pro berth in 2000, finished in the top five in the league's Defensive Player of the year for a second straight season and led Tampa Bay with 179 tackles.
He also turned in what has been deemed one of the top 10 defensive plays of the season by NFL Films. In a long-running review of the exciting 2000 NFL season, NFL Films and NFL.com have asked users to help them identify the most exciting plays of the season.
Oakland RB Tyrone Wheatley, for example, was judged to have made the year's best running play with his 80-yard touchdown jaunt against the Seattle Seahawks on October 22. NFL Films identified 10 plays as candidates, then allowed users to determine the winner, referring to the provided video clips if they chose.
Currently, the vote being run on NFL.com is for the Defensive Play of the Year, and Brooks is in the running with his 34-yard interception return for a touchdown against Minnesota on October 29. Brooks' pick-and-run off a Daunte Culpepper pass helped the Bucs paste Minnesota 41-13 and give the Vikings their first loss of the season.
To visit NFL.com and vote for Brooks in the Defensive Play of the Year voting, please click here.