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Hard Work, Dedication, and A Humble Mindset – How Brooks Paved His Way

Jacob Ray Youth & Education Manager, Pro Football Hall of Fame Published 28 Jan 2021

The Pro Football Hall of Fame once again will offer its highly popular Heart of a Hall of Famer series, powered by Extreme Networks, on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, at 10:00am (ET) with Gold Jacket Derrick Brooks.

The program provides students the opportunity to learn first-hand what it took beyond athletic ability to achieve success on and off the field.

Linebacker Derrick Brooks, a four-year letterman and three-time All-American choice at Florida State, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 28th overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft. He never missed a game during his 14-season career in which he established himself as the cornerstone for what was considered one of the NFL’s best defenses for a decade.

Brooks earned a starting position in training camp of his rookie year and started all but three games that season. In 1997, Brooks led the Buccaneers to their first postseason appearance since 1981. Brooks was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 when he again led Tampa Bay with 173 tackles, registered a career-high five interceptions (three of which were returned for TDs), 15 passes defensed, one fumble recovery, and one sack. He was a major contributor in the Bucs’ victory in Super Bowl XXXVII where he had three tackles, one pass defensed, and one interception returned 44 yards for a TD against the Oakland Raiders. Brooks was a six-time All-Pro choice, named All-NFC eight times, and selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

Any school can connect to the Heart of a Hall of Famer program via a PC/MAC/IOS/Android device or a traditional video conferencing system. There are limited interactive and video conferencing system spots are available, and the first 7 schools to register will receive those spots. If you register and are not one of the first 7 schools, you can still be part of the program — as a “view only” school. You still will be able to access the chat function to ask Mr. Brooks a question.

A session is available to grades 4-12 free of charge, thanks to our sponsors at Extreme Networks! For more information or to register, please contact our Education Department at or register at

Due to the differences in how schools are operating this year, we ask that you only register for this program if your students will be in the classroom. If your students are not in the classroom during this time, please see the information below on how to view the live stream of this program!

We will be streaming the program on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s YouTube page and will take questions from students throughout the program. To participate, all you will need to do is:

To ask a question, comment on the post with the following information:

  • First Name of Student
  • Name of Teacher
  • Name/Location of School
  • Question for Gold Jacket

​View the program by going to Here, you can view and set a reminder about the program and subscribe to the Hall of Fame’s Channel. The program will be taking place at 10:00am (ET) on Feb. 4th.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out! You can contact me at 330-588-3558 or by email at

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