TAMPA, Fla. -- I got to spend time Tuesday with Derrick Brooks. We'll have much more on that next week when I write a column previewing the Pro Football Hall of Fame selections with Brooks as a finalist.
But at the end of the interview, I asked Brooks a couple of questions on other topics. One of those was Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David, who frequently gets compared to Brooks. Although he usually is quite calm, Brooks got animated as he talked about the fact that David was not selected to the Pro Bowl.
"I was very hurt -- I wasn't just disappointed, I was very hurt -- to see this young man left off the Pro Bowl football team," Brooks said. "Now he turns around and he makes All-Pro. I get it. But there's something about being recognized by your peers that means a lot. That had to sting. I felt terrible for him. He's undoubtedly not just one of the top linebackers, but one of the top football players in the National Football League."
If David still is feeling that sting, maybe he can take some consolation in what Brooks had to say about the comparisons of the two that many fans have made.
"To compare him to me is unfair at this point in his career because he doesn't have longevity on his side," Brooks said. "Does he have a lot of signs? Of course. He's done more his first couple years than I did in my first two years. This defense has had to depend on him a lot more than what the defense had to depend on me my first couple of years. I got better Year 3 through whatever. Now we've got to wait and see if that happens for him."