We had the opportunity to speak with Buccaneers’ legend and Hall of Fame player Derrick Brooks about something very special that he was able to experience. As a member of the Hall of Fame, Brooks was approached about the Ford Proud To Honor Hall of Heroes.
The Hall of Heroes is a program created by Ford Motor Company and Pro Football Hall of Fame recognizing deserving military men and women who exemplify hard work, selflessness and a commitment to excellence. Hall of Heroes serves as an extension to Ford’s military program, Proud to Honor, which works to raise awareness of the needs of our veterans and supports partners who address those needs, aiming to create a meaningful connection.
In this case, it was Retired U.S. Army Special Forces Master Sergeant Steve Grewell who was selected as the second member of the Hall of Heroes. In Grewell’s honor, Ford is donating $10,000 to the Rescue 22 Foundation - a non-profit that provides the highest quality trained service dogs, helping to address the mental and physical health of our nation’s combat veterans.
Master Sergeant Grewell said, “I am very honored to have been selected to the Ford Proud To Honor Hall of Heroes. It was great to have the opportunity to meet Derrick Brooks as I have been a lifetime Bucs fan since 1976. I would do anything to help Rescue 22 get a service dog to another veteran and hope the residents of Tampa Bay will help in that mission.”
Brooks, who presented the honor to Master Sergeant Grewell told us;
“I got involved through the Pro Football Hall of Fame and their leadership team selected me to be a part of such a humbling experience. And that’s the word I would use when honoring Sergeant Grewell with this latest honor - I was very humbled. To be there with his family, to see his response to this particular news and drawing a connection. He was a Buccaneers fan, you know, the whole nine that comes with it. For all the things that our men and women do for our country, there are a lot of shared characteristics with the game of football or team sports. Whether it’s passion, perseverance, overcoming obstacles, integrity - those character traits, all those things transform to our missions and values at the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well. When you get organizations to come together that honor people that represent that, that serve our community and our country, I raise two hands to be a part of it and again, I thank the Pro Football Hall of Fame for allowing me to be part of it.
“One of the unique parts about this was getting to learn more about Rescue 22. They had their staff there to really walk me through how they provide these specialized, trained dogs to help men and women overcome PTSD and other mental and physical challenges that they’ve dealt with or are having to deal with post-career. To see not just how the animals respond - some of it I was at a loss for words and was amazed at how they do it but at the same time I was saluting them especially Rescue 22 for sinking their heels in the sand and being committed to this program. To see Steve’s dog react with him, I was like ‘Hey - you’re not going in there alone. Your best friend is going with you.’ So, Rescue 22 is one of the unique organizations and I hope a lot of people through this program get a chance to learn about them and provide their support.”
Derrick Brooks and the #PFHOF came together to honor and induct military veteran Steve Grewell into the Hall of Heroes— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 13, 2021
This is to celebrate all veterans who have served and continue to give back in a big way. #ProudToHonor
From B/R x @FordTrucks pic.twitter.com/V9mcf8pgQ6
Of course, we couldn’t speak to Derrick Brooks without talking a little Buccaneers. Brooks was co-chairman of the Super Bowl LV hosting committee that his former team would go on to win. Now, the Buccaneers appear to be bringing back all the key members of that Super Bowl winning team with the desire to “go for two.”
As someone who won a Super Bowl then saw exactly how difficult it was to even make the postseason the year after, we asked Brooks what he thought about the Bucs’ ability - and chances - of fulfilling the goal of a repeat;
“I think it really starts with the quarterback because he’s been there and done that. I think that’s one of the one things that I learned that I really played forward the rest of my career after we won the Super Bowl - we had our top thirty guys back, but we never turned the page and realized we were a different team. Yes we had the same body, same mind but we didn’t have the necessary attitude to turn the page and realize that just because we were back together things have gotta be different. We gotta adapt, we have to change. We didn’t learn that until later in the season when we were fighting just to make the playoffs and we came one game short.
Where I think now, they have that experience in the locker room with a couple players starting with Tom that can talk to that. They’ve earned that collateral. So yes, they’re bringing everybody back but they have to understand that just because everybody’s back - including the staff - they’re not gonna be the same team and they have to operate as the team of 2021 not the team of 2020. That would be my advice to them.”
For more information on Rescue 22 Foundation, check out rescue22foundation.org and for more information on the Ford Proud to Honor Hall of Heroes and Master Sergeant Steve Grewell, go to fordproudtohonor.com
For more on this interview, check out the podcast here or in the player below.