TAMPA, Fla. -- There are no locks, but Derrick Brooks was as secure as a first-year finalist could be.
There are no certainties, but the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker entered Saturday's Pro Football Hall of Fame vote much like he did most of his decorated 14-year career: As a constant, a sure thing.
Canton is calling. Another Buc is on his way.
There are many notable memories from the other Class of 2014 members -- from Andre Reed to Michael Strahan, Walter Jones to Aeneas Williams, Ray Guy to Claude Humphrey. Year after year, names are debated and careers weighed in the hours before the Super Bowl, the line between "finalist" and "inductee" almost too small to parse.
With Brooks, though, "finalist" and "inductee" always appeared one in the same. Any reasonable-thinking person who respected the NFL's history understood Brooks' place within it. He redefined his position in the seasons after the Bucs drafted him 28th overall...