Former Bucs’ Brooks keeps Hall future on radar

ATLANTA – Former Tampa Bay weak-side linebacker Derrick Brooks, not only one of the NFL’s top defenders during his 14-year career with the Bucs but one of its most gracious players, isn’t eligible for Hall of Fame consideration until 2014. But, while Brooks is taking nothing for granted about his possible candidacy, he has already started to make sure he fully understands the process and the mechanics of the voting.

Brooks told The Sports Xchange last week that a few years ago, when it was obvious that his league tenure was over, he began to educate himself on the Hall of Fame and how the process works.

He asked the late Tom McEwen, the former Tampa Tribune columnist who was a responsible as anyone for the Tampa landing a franchise, for some guidance. And he even had dinner with McEwen and Hall of Fame selector to ask questions about the voting procedure. Brooks dragged along two teammates and fellow Hall of Fame potential members, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and safety John Lynch (both eligible in 2013), to the dinner so that they might better comprehend the process.

Said Brooks last week: “It gave me more appreciation for the whole thing. I’m not going to presume anything. It’s a hard job.”