Derrick Brooks had no explanation for what just happened to him.
Brooks, 36, one of the top players in Tampa Bay history, was cut by the Buccaneers yesterday in a purge of the team's veterans.
"Right now, I'm just trying to get a feel for it all, trying to come to grips with it," the 11-time Pro Bowl selection said. "I don't even know what to think."
He can begin thinking about his future in the NFL away from Tampa.
Brooks, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year when Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, was among five players cut, four of them older than 32-year-old Raheem Morris, the team's new head coach.
The others were wide receivers Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard, running back Warrick Dunn, and linebacker Cato June. June, 29, is the only player under 30 and the only one younger than Morris.
The releases save more than $10 million in salary cap space for a team that already is close to $50 million under the projected cap of $123 million. General manager Mark Dominik said the object of the cuts was less to save money than to get the team younger.
Of the team's core veterans, only cornerback Ronde Barber survived the purge.
Dominik said the timing of the decision was to allow the players to participate in the start of free agency tomorrow.
"We did this out of respect for those players," he added. "We let them know we are going in a different direction and we have young men on the roster who will have an opportunity to step up and compete for a starting job."
Coles freed by Jets
The New York Jets restructured Laveranues Coles's
contract, allowing the veteran wide receiver to become an unrestricted free agent. Coles, 31, was heading into the final year of his contract, but was looking for a long-term deal. Because of the compromise between the sides, the Jets are off the hook for the guaranteed $6 million Coles was due in 2009. Coles, who caught 70 passes for 850 yards and seven touchdowns last season, told the Star-Ledger of Newark that he could still end up re-signing with the Jets. "We didn't leave on bad terms," Coles said. "It's not out of the question that I could come back." . . . Linebacker Channing Crowder
signed a multiyear contract to remain with the Miami Dolphins, a surprising move after negotiations appeared at a stalemate only a few days ago.
Jacobs gets 4-year deal
Less than two weeks after putting a franchise tag on him, the New York Giants signed bruising halfback Brandon Jacobs
to a four-year, $25 million contract. "I was confident all along that this was going to get done I didn't panic one bit," Jacobs said in a statement. "I know the reason we did it the way we did; I knew I was going to be here. I was super-confident and I am here. I'm happy about it." The deal includes $13 million in guarantees. Despite missing three games with a knee injury, Jacobs ran for 1,089 yards and a team-leading 15 touchdowns in helping the Giants win the NFC East last season. He also combined with fellow halfback Derrick Ward
(1,025 yards) to make the Giants only the fifth team with two 1,000-yard running backs . . . The St. Louis Rams released veteran quarterback Trent Green
and wide receiver Drew Bennett
. Green, 38, played in three games last season, completing 38 of 72 passes for 525 yards with no touchdowns and six interceptions. Bennett signed a six-year, $30 million deal two years ago after six seasons with the Titans. But he struggled in 2007 and broke his leg in the Rams' opening series of the season's opener in 2008, missing the remainder of the season . . . Other veterans released yesterday included receiver D.J. Hackett
by the Carolina Panthers and safety Will Demps
, defensive end Anthony Weaver
, and offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam
of the Houston Texans . . . Offensive lineman Kynan Forney
bypassed free agency by signing a two-year deal to stay with the San Diego Chargers.
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