Derrick Brooks provided plenty of thrilling and lasting memories during his years as a Florida State linebacker.
Saturday night, at halftime of the Seminoles' game against Clemson, FSU returned the favor.
Brooks, the talismanic linebacker who was at the forefront of the 1993 National Championship, returned to Tallahassee Saturday to have his No. 10 jersey retired.
A Pensacola native who played at Florida State from 1991 to 1994, Brooks joins Ron Sellers, Fred Biletnikoff, Ron Simmons, Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward, Warrick Dunn and Chris Weinke as the only former Seminoles to have their jerseys retired.
"Looking at Ron Simmons, as well as Ron Sellers and Fred Biletnikoff's jerseys while I was here, the thought of having a jersey number retired never crossed my mind," said Brooks, looking confident in a tan suit and garnet shirt, just a hint of grey creeping into his hair. "I was so consumed with graduating and I was so passionate about getting Coach (Bobby) Bowden's first national championship during my four years here, I never had a chance to think about any personal success."
It didn't take Brooks too long to accomplish those goals - he graduated in 3 ½ years and was a defensive leader on the team that sealed Bowden's first title. And with those out of the way, Brook accomplished plenty of that personal success as well.
Consider that Brooks:
- was a two-time consensus All-American, in 1993 and 1994.
- recorded 274 career tackles (153 solos) during his four years at FSU.
- scored three defensive touchdowns, all of them during the 1993 championship run
- finished his career with 18 tackles for loss, 8 ½ sacks, five interceptions, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 13 pass break ups, and two blocked kicks.
-after FSU, went on to have a stellar NFL career, and will likely one day be a Hall of Famer.
Once Brooks announced his retirement from pro football, the decision to retire his jersey was easy. Even so, it was hard for Brooks not to get a little caught up in the moment.
"You never anticipate it until it actually happens… I was just humbled. Very, very humbled," he said. "It's no secret, my love for this university as well as the coaches who coached me while I was here."