Nickerson Humbled By BrooksMay 6th, 2014
Today, when it was announced Mr. Derrick Brooks would be the latest inductee into the Buccaners Ring of Honor, and that his No. 55 will never be worn in a game again, Brooks, of course, took the podium for a few words.
Brooks used the opportunity to brush up on his Pro Football Hall of Fame speech later this summer. He thanked several people for his career, including former linebacker teammate Hardy Nickerson.
“He taught me how to work,” Brooks said.
Nickerson, now the Bucs’ linebacker coach, sat in the back of the auditorium and was humbled to hear Brooks call out his name.
“It feels real good,” Nickerson said of Brooks’ words after the ceremony. “It means a lot. At the time I was the older guy on the team and young guys looked at me for leadership. I was doing the best I could to kind of show the way. We were at a time when we were not winning a whole lot. So we were all kind of pushing to try to turn this thing around. So that was the way I had to carry it. Be that elder statesman and be that leader around the locker room.
“So what I tried to do is be the best player I could and do my part. Show up every day. Be a pro. Taking notes and making sure I was prepared. That was what I was trying to do.”
Nickerson remembered well his first couple of practices alongside Brooks after he was drafted in the first round out of Florida State. Nickerson remembered his first impression all too well.
“Oh, man. Tremendous talent,” Nickerson said. “That’s what I thought. You could tell right away. You saw the things he did in college and then when you saw him on the practice fields you were like, ‘Whoa! This guy is going to be really good. Really good.’”