Brooks, the NFL's defensive player of the year when the Bucs 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 include wide receivers Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard, running back Warrick Dunn and linebacker Cato June. The 29-year-old June 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. Barber, who will turn 34 in April, worked closely with Morris, who has spent time as the team's defensive backs coach.
But the 36-year-old Brooks was the most visible cut after a season in which he made his 11th Pro Bowl.
"There is no way to adequately thank Derrick Brooks for his years of dedication and service to this team and community, or for his impact on me personally," Morris said.
"He is a once in a lifetime kind of player and man, and I am very fortunate to have had the chance to work with him and learn from him. Those who played with him and coached him are better because of it."
Brooks, one of only four players voted to 10 consecutive Pro Bowls, also was a standout off the field - he was the co-winner of the 2000 NFL Man of the Year award, given to the player who combines skill on the field with good works off it.
"Our family and the entire Tampa Bay community owe Derrick an indescribable measure of gratitude for all that he has meant over the last 14 years," said Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer. "His play on the field and leadership in the locker room helped resurrect our franchise and we look forward to celebrating his certain 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 years with Atlanta, then rejoined Tampa Bay last season, rushing for 786 yards and a 4.2 average.
He made the Pro Bowl three times and is the sixth player in NFL history to record over 10,000 yards rushing and 500 receptions. Dunn has played in 181 games with 154 starts, and rushed for 10,967 yards, 19th best in NFL history.
Galloway, 37, is the only Buccaneer to have three straight seasons with more than 1,000 yards receiving, something he accomplished from 2005-2007. He is only the second player to have three such seasons with two different teams - he did it in 1995 and 1997-98 with Seattle.
Brooks, Dunn, Galloway and Hilliard are all former first-round draft choices - Galloway and Dunn with the Bucs, Galloway with the Seahawks and Hilliard with the New York Giants in 1997.
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A former sports doctor accused of molesting at least 125 girls and young women while he worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple charges of sexual assault and will face at least 25 years in prison.