The Cincinnati Bengals selected Ahmad Brooks in the third round of the 2006 Supplemental Draft, who would go on to play 11 games during his rookie year, including five starts at middle linebacker, generating nearly 50 tackles and a quarterback sack. Against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2007 regular season opener on Monday Night Football, Brooks posted six tackles, a sack and forced fumble, generating significant optimism that Cincinnati may have found their young linebacker that could finally claim a position that was held by so many stop-gap solutions.
The following week Brooks suffered a torn groin muscle, which forced him onto injured reserve in early November 2007. He was eventually released during final cuts in 2008 and to this day, he doesn't understand why.
"I'm not going to say I didn't have a fair chance because I really don't know the situation why I left Cincinnati in the first place," he said. "The type of player I've always been, I never felt so heartbroken in my life getting cut.
"I felt like as time went on I would have grown into the position or whatever position they wanted me to play. I would have had a great year, but I got injured my second year. I never got a second chance. I don't even know if I went up there to say 'thank you.' I just left and drove home. There was nothing to say to anybody. There are no hard feelings."
Around that time the Cincinnati Bengals were trying to rehabilitate their image with a self-imposed zero-tolerance policy. It didn't help that on May 2008, Brooks was accused of punching a woman in the face during an argument with his neighbor.
Obviously he's moved on.
After the San Francisco 49ers put a waiver claim on him in 2008, Brooks generated 24.5 quarterback sacks, two interceptions, eight forced fumbles and a touchdown over the last four seasons. During the offseason last year, the 49ers signed Brooks to a six-year deal worth $44.5 million with $17.5 million guaranteed.
Brooks enters this weekend having been limited all week with a shoulder injury, but is expected to play.