Thursday, January 13, 2011
Keith Brooking wants one more season
Linebacker Keith Brooking wants to play one more year, preferably with the Dallas Cowboys, the 13-year veteran said.
"I can tell you this: I have one more year left in me -- at least that," Brooking told Galloway and Company of ESPN 103.3 FM in Dallas. "I feel strongly about that, and I'm realistic about that as well."
Brooking, who has one season remaining on his contract with the Cowboys,
has played in 160 consecutive games -- the second-longest streak among linebackers behind Washington's London Fletcher.
The inside linebacker had 97 tackles during the 2010 season to bring his career total to 1,330 tackles. He also has 21 career sacks. Brooking spent his first 11 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before joining the Cowboys in 2009.
"It's hard to say. It really is," Brooking said about his future with the Cowboys. "I think I'm way down on their priority list right now as far as decisions they're going to make. Obviously they have bigger fish to fry right now -- decisions to make on their coaching staff."
Jason Garrett had the interim tag removed by owner Jerry Jones after the season. Jones has said that Garrett would have "the final say" when it came to the coaching staff and player decisions.
"There won't be a player on this team that Jason does not want on the team," Jones said during the news conference.
So what does that mean for Brooking, one of the Cowboys' captains who played the final four games with an injured foot to extend his Ironman streak?
"I was out there on one leg pretty much. I feel better already, and I feel I can get one more [year] in, for sure," Brooking said. "But that's not just going to be anywhere, though. If it's here, I'm staying -- no doubt about it.
"Let's just see where it goes. There's a lot of uncertainty right now with everything [labor situation]. There's a lot that has to take place yet, and we'll see how that plays out."
Whether or not he's on the roster next season, Brooking will have made an impact for the Cowboys.
The 35-year-old spent most of the 2010 season mentoring rookie Sean Lee, who could replace Brooking in the starting lineup.
"The nature of this league is that every year they draft somebody to replace you," Brooking said late in the season. "It's part of the profession."
Lee also isn't comfortable discussing the idea of replacing Brooking. He has too much respect for the team captain.
"That guy can be playing until he's 40," Lee said before the season ended. "I don't see it as a situation where I'm a replacement for him, because you don't know how long he's going to play with how talented he is and how tough a guy he is."
Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com contributed to this report. You can follow him on Twitter.