TAMPA, Fla. - Derrick Brooks, one of the top players inTampa Bay history, was cut by the Buccaneers on Monday in a purgeof the team's older players.
Brooks, the NFL's defensive player of the year when the Bucs wonthe Super Bowl after the 2002 season, was among five players cut,four of them older than 32-year-old Raheem Morris, the team's newhead coach.
The others include wide receivers Joey Galloway and IkeHilliard, running back Warrick Dunn and linebacker Cato June. The29-year-old June is the only player under 30 and the only oneyounger than Morris.
The releases save more than $10 million in salary cap space fora team that already is close to $50 million under the projected capof $123 million. General manager Mark Dominik said the object ofthe cuts was less to save money than to get the team younger.
Of the team's core veterans, only cornerback Ronde Barbersurvived the purge. Barber, who will turn 34 in April, workedclosely with Morris, who has spent time as the team's defensivebacks coach.
But the 36-year-old Brooks was the most visible cut after aseason in which he made his 11th Pro Bowl.
"There is no way to adequately thank Derrick Brooks for hisyears of dedication and service to this team and community, or forhis impact on me personally," Morris said.
"He is a once in a lifetime kind of player and man, and I amvery fortunate to have had the chance to work with him and learnfrom him. Those who played with him and coached him are betterbecause of it."
Brooks, one of only four players voted to 10 consecutive ProBowls, also was a standout off the field -- he was the co-winner ofthe 2000 NFL Man of the Year award, given to the player whocombines skill on the field with good works off it.
"Our family and the entire Tampa Bay community owe Derrick anindescribable measure of gratitude for all that he has meant overthe last 14 years," said Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer."His play on the field and leadership in the locker room helpedresurrect our franchise and we look forward to celebrating hiscertain enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
Dunn, 34, was the Man of the Year in 2004.
He played his first five seasons with the Bucs, spent six yearswith Atlanta, then rejoined Tampa Bay last season, rushing for 786yards and a 4.2 average.
He made the Pro Bowl three times and is the sixth player in NFLhistory to record over 10,000 yards rushing and 500 receptions.Dunn has played in 181 games with 154 starts, and rushed for 10,967yards, 19th best in NFL history.
Galloway, 37, is the only Buccaneer to have three straightseasons with more than 1,000 yards receiving, something heaccomplished from 2005-2007. He is only the second player to havethree such seasons with two different teams -- he did it in 1995 and1997-98 with Seattle.
Brooks, Dunn, Galloway and Hilliard are all former first-rounddraft choices -- Galloway and Dunn with the Bucs, Galloway with theSeahawks and Hilliard with the New York Giants in 1997.