Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
Really interesting interview here with linebacker (and new ESPN colleague) Derrick Brooks on the Waddle & Silvy show over on ESPN Chicago. Brooks, who agreed Wednesday to join ESPN2’s "First Take" program, spoke openly about the possibility he could join the Bears as early as next week.
Brooks never signed with a team after Tampa Bay released him this winter, but he does not want to retire. He’s close to Bears coach Lovie Smith, having played for him when both were with the Buccaneers, and spoke with multiple Bears officials this week after Brian Urlacher was lost for the season. General manager Jerry Angelo said Wednesday that “we could possibly pursue” him, and Brooks spoke openly Thursday about the possibility.
“They really want to evaluate the guys that’s there this weekend to give them an opportunity to step in and fill in for the loss of not having Urlacher in there,” Brooks said. “They’re going to take it from there, the evaluation process. I’m just grateful to be considered an option. If that’s the case, I’ll come in and do my best to fill whatever role they need me to fill in order to win. … At this point, we’ve just got things on the back burner until they get through this weekend.”
From the outside, you have to wonder why no NFL team has expressed strong interest in signing him. Is it because most teams are convinced that, at age 36, he should retire?
“What I have to say to that,” Brooks said, “is watch and see. I don’t really do a lot of self-promotion and predictions. My best way to answer that is to put it on tape.”
Brooks said he speaks with Smith annually to evaluate his game, and said Smith told him that “I’ve got some football left in me.”
Brooks has typically played the position currently occupied by Pro Bowler Lance Briggs. The Bears could be considering him to replace Urlacher or simply to provide depth. Asked about playing the middle, Brooks said: “I’ll make it comfortable for me.”
Are the Bears just trying to do Brooks a favor by publicizing interest in an old friend? Or are they seriously interested? We’ll keep you updated.