The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced today their 2014 inductees, and the class includes two former Noles, Derrick Brooks and Walter Jones.
Jones did not spend much time in Tallahassee, transferring from Holmes Community College and redshirting in 1995. He gave up just one sack as a junior starter in 1996 (for which he was named second team All-ACC) before leaving for the NFL Draft, where he was picked 6th overall by Seattle. A standout his entire career, Jones was in the news frequently not just for his play, but also for his continued fight with the Seahawks over his contract, resulting in Seattle putting the franchise tag on him for three straight years. This influenced the next collective bargaining agreement to include a special clause giving a player the QB tag salary if tagged for a third time. He was a 9 time Pro Bowler and 7 time All Pro.
Brooks has a special place in FSU history as a leader of that great defense on our first championship team. Through the team's first five games, he personally outscored the competition 18-14. For this, he was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. I had the opportunity to watch him play every game for his last two seasons, and he deserves to be remembered as a Seminole legend. For those who didn't get to witness how dominant he was, I recommend watching his FSU highlight reel. He was a two-time consensus first team All-American and a three-time first team All-ACC. His last game in Tallahassee was the Choke at Doak, cementing his status in Seminole football lore.
He slid far too much in the 1995 NFL draft, but after being selected 28th overall, he served as one of the major building blocks for that great Tampa Bay Bucs defense. In 2002, he was NFL Defensive Player of the Year and led the league in defensive TDs while playing for the eventual Super Bowl champions. An 11 time Pro Bowler and 9 time All Pro, he was also recognized for his great work as a humanitarian with the 2000 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the 2003 Bart Starr Man of the Year Award, and the 2003 Whizzer White NFL Man of the Year Award, primarily for his work in providing educational and life experience opportunities for children in low income families.
Congratulations to two of our own as they're recognized for their excellent careers.