NFL News of January 8, 2003

As his team was beating the St. Louis Rams in a Monday night game early in the season, Tampa Bay Coach Jon Gruden couldn’t help but stare when he saw Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks chase down Rams tailback Marshall Faulk and slam him to the ground. More than once.

…Brooks more than did his part, and he was rewarded for it Wednesday by being named the NFL’s 2002 Defensive Player of the Year. After enduring a frustrating 2001 season in which he was slowed by a nagging ankle injury, Brooks became the third player in franchise history to be so honored, joining Hall-of-Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon (1979) and defensive tackle Warren Sapp (`99).

Brooks received 36 votes from a national panel of football writers. Miami defensive end Jason Taylor, who led the league with 18.5 sacks, finished second with 11 votes. Philadelphia free safety Brian Dawkins was third with one vote.

— Chris Harry, The Orlando Sentinel “Buccaneers’ Brooks named NFL Defensive Player of the Year”

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