In the world of the National Football League, there is a pecking order of sorts, there is a difference between rookies and veteran players.
Buccaneer great Derrick Brooks seconded that motion Wednesday on the Ron and Ian Show on WDAE 620. Brooks, arguably the greatest Buccaneer linebacker ever, talked about the rumored confrontation between veteran defensive tackle Brian Price and rookie Mark Barron.
"Warren Sapp had a problem like that," Brooks said, recalling Sapp's rookie year. "Once he understood that you have to respect veteran players, he had a great second half of the season."
Brooks also made it clear where he stands on fighting and his belief was instilled by former Buccaneer Coach Tony Dungy.
"If you wanted a day off, just start a fight at a practice and you'll be in that locker room early," Brooks remembered. Brooks went on to add that the Dungy mantra did not tolerate fighting, ever. "It goes back to discipline. If you don't have the discipline to avoid a fight, that can manifest itself on game day."
Brooks said it's all about discipline. "This team needed it in all facets," he said of the current Buccaneer roster.
Was there a lack of discipline with Raheem Morris? "All you had to do was watch the final 10 games and it was right there on the field," Brooks pointed out.
The notion that fighting among players "is a norm" as some believe, simply never held water with Dungy and it is probably that way with Schiano as well. After the incident, Price was suddenly back home in Los Angeles to work out on his own, not that he was forced to leave but perhaps something might have been "suggested" to him.
As for Barron, he'll be on his way to the 15th NFL Rookie Symposium that starts Sunday in Aurora, Ohio. Notice the small town setting for this gathering, not big city temptations for these young players. Maybe Barron will learn over the four days that rookies should show respect to veterans.
Barron and the rest of the rookies will also get to see firsthand how not to run your life as a player in the National Football League. They'll hear from Adam "Pacman" Jones, Terrell Owens and Michael Vick, of all people. There's three guys who really brought themselves down.
This is the same rookie symposium where Aqib Talib got into a fight his first year.
"Honestly," said Brooks, "I believe Aqib Talib is a changed man."
Let's hope so.
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