LB Derrick Brooks, here on one of his groundbreaking Brooks' Bunch trips, has won a series of prestigious NFL awards
This one will stand out even on Derrick Brooks' crowded mantle.
Brooks, the Pro Bowl linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has won many awards during his decade in the NFL, but few as prestigious as the one he claimed on Friday night at the Gridiron Gala Featuring the JB Awards in Washington, D.C.
Brooks was named the winner of the 38th Annual Byron "Whizzer" White Humanitarian Award, completing a series of four of the most prestigious awards an NFL player can achieve. In 2000, Brooks was the co-recipient of the NFL Man of the Year Award. In 2002, he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. And one day before this year's Super Bowl in February, Brooks was selected as the latest Bart Starr Award winner, which recognizes outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.
The Whizzer White award commemorates the life of the Pro Football Hall of Famer who later became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Each year, the award honors one player who has displayed an outstanding dedication to serve his team, community and country in the spirit established by White.
Last year's winner of the Whizzer White Award and newly elected NFLPA president Troy Vincent of the Buffalo Bills was on hand to presented Brooks with his award. A Buccaneers team captain and an unquestioned leader in the locker room, Brooks has long been one of the NFL's best performers on and off the field. He has been voted to seven consecutive Pro Bowls and has created such groundbreaking youth programs as the 'Brooks' Bunch,' which takes annual trips to such destinations as Africa, Washington, D.C. and the American West.
In the past, a Whizzer White finalist was selected from each NFL team, and the eventual winner came from that pool. Now that the award, and the Gridiron Gala, is associated with Fox Sports Sunday broadcaster James Brown, the selection process has an added step. Brown personally selected 10 finalists from the field of 32, and a panel of judges then reviewed the records of those 10. Brooks was chosen from a group of 10 that also included Adalius Thomas (Baltimore Ravens), Adam Timmerman (St. Louis Rams), Jay Feely (Atlanta Falcons), Kenard Lang (Cleveland Browns), LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego Chargers), Quincy Carter (Dallas Cowboys), Robert Porcher (Detroit Lions), Tim Brown (Oakland Raiders) and Willie Anderson (Cincinnati Bengals).
Other winners at the Gridiron Gala included Tennessee's Erron Kinney (Act of Kindness Award), Arizona's Emmitt Smith (Lifetime Achievement Award), Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb (Perseverance Award), Baltimore's Art Modell (Executive of the Year Award) and Brig Owens (Business Person of the Year).
The Gala and surrounding activities were filmed for a one-hour television special which will air in early August on FOXSports Net and will feature the evening's emcees James Brown and Pam Oliver. Presenting Sponsor of the NFL Players Gridiron Gala was Majestic Athletic.
Proceeds from Friday's event will benefit the Special Olympics in Washington, D.C. In addition to recognizing some of the NFL's outstanding citizens, Friday's Gridiron Gala raised nearly $100,000 for the Special Olympics.