The overhaul of the Buccaneers roster continued today, as the team released perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks, wide receiver Joey Galloway, running back Warrick Dunn, wide receiver Ike Hilliard and linebacker Cato June.
The biggest release might be Brooks, who even at 35 plays at a high level, and was the teams first round pick in 1995. An 11-time Pro Bowler, he never missed a game in 14 seasons, although he was slowed by injuries late last season. His 11 Pro Bowl selections rank second all-time to Junior Seau (12).
Brooks had recorded 13 straight seasons with at least 100 tackles, winning Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Buccaneers’ 2002 Super Bowl-winning season.
“His play on the field and leadership in the locker room helped resurrect our franchise and we look forward to celebrating his certain enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer said.
In 224 regular-season games, Brooks amassed 2,198 tackles, 25 interceptions, 25 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, 13 1/2 sacks and seven touchdowns.
“There is no way to adequately thank Derrick Brooks for his years of dedication and service to this team and community, or for his impact on me personally,” Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris said. “He is a once-in-a-lifetime-kind of player and man, and I am very fortunate to have had the chance to work with him and learn from him. Those who played with him and coached him are better because of it.”
Galloway was hurt most of last season, and had just 13 receptions. Prior to that, he had resurrected his career with three straight 1,000-yard seasons for the Bucs.
The only player in franchise history to record three 1,000-yard seasons, Galloway also is one of only two players in NFL history (Henry Ellard) to achieve that feat with two different teams.
Dunn had come back to the Buccaneers last season after spending six years with Atlanta. Brought in mainly as a third-down back, he was thrust into the starting lineup after injuries decimated the team’s running game. he finished the season with 786 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
“Warrick Dunn has represented this organization on so many levels with his unselfishness on and off the field,” Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said. “He is a great football player and unmatched competitor. Warrick’s work in the community is evident by the number of people he has touched with his kindness.”
Hilliard had 47 receptions for 424 yards and four touchdowns in 2008.
For his career, Hilliard has caught 546 passes for 6,397 yards and 35 touchdowns in 161 games.
The 29-year-old June appeared in all 32 games in his two seasons with the Buccaneers. He had played his first four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. June has recorded 623 tackles, 12 interceptions and one sack in six seasons.