Welcome, Guest
Pewter Report  >>  Boards  >>  The Red Board (Moderators: 3rd String Kicker, PRPatrol)  >>  Topic: This is the story of the week Ronde Barber was benched. « previous next »
Page: 1 2

michael89156

******
Hall of Famer

Posts : 11421
Offline
: August 05, 2011, 08:40:29 PM

Even at age 36, cornerbacks are still waiting to replace Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ronde Barber
By Gary Shelton, Times sports columnist
Posted: Aug 05, 2011


   

Let me tell you a story, the old man said. This is one that no one knows.

It was long ago, but already he was very old in a young man's profession. Critics said he wasn't making the plays he once did, and fans were falling out of love, and his coaches decided it was time for someone new.

This is the story of the week Ronde Barber was benched.

This is the story of when he felt the NFL pushing him toward the exit.

Barber folds his hands over his shaved head and stares at the ceiling. He is fresh off the practice field, still in his football pants and cleats, still damp with sweat. Four years have passed, but the memory has not faded.

It was late November of 2008, early in the week, when Barber got the news. Monte Kiffin, in his final season, wanted to start Aqib Talib, the talented rookie, in his place alongside Philip Buchanan. Barber, the Bucs' right cornerback since the invention of third down, was benched.

The bench? For an aging veteran, the bench is the NFL's checkout desk. Former starters don't hang around on the bench for long. They get the number to the local alumni chapter.

"I remember thinking, 'If I can just make it through this year, I'll accept my fate,' '' Barber said. "That was the closest I ever felt to being out of the league."

As it turned out, it was a false alarm. By game time, Kiffin had changed his mind, and Barber started against the Lions. He had two interceptions, returning one of them 65 yards for a touchdown.

Four years later, at 36, younger corners are still waiting to replace him.

It may be a while yet.

There have been so many big plays at big moments in big games. When Barber finally leaves if he ever leaves they will talk about his plays.

He has been so good so often for so long. That, too, will be part of Barber's legacy. With the exception of Derrick Brooks, has any Buc ever sustained excellence for as long as Barber?

This, however, might be the ultimate compliment to Barber's career:

Amazingly, he has made the fans love him all over again.

This rarely happens in sports. When a player falls out of favor, the fans usually find someone else. Someone younger, someone fresher.

For a while, it got nasty with Barber. A great many fans seemed to feel he should have gone in the great purge of 2009 that took away veterans such as Brooks, Warrick Dunn and Joey Galloway.

The last two seasons have changed that. Barber has played well, and those rare instincts of his have been on display again. He has played more man coverage than at any point in his career.

This year, Barber can become the Bucs' all-time leader in games played (he is currently 15 behind Brooks). He has 40 career interceptions. He has 26 career sacks. He has 13 career returns for touchdowns, which is impressive for a guy who doesn't return kicks.

When comparing him to other corners, the Pro Football Reference website brings up 10 names. Eight of them are in the Hall of Fame. Still, the national impression of Barber is that he has always been just on the outside of greatness. For all of his versatility, for all of his impact, he remains an afterthought when the conversation turns to the great corners of his era.

"I'll remember him as one of the most under-appreciated Buccaneers of all time,'' is the way general manager Mark Dominik puts it. In other words, as highly regarded as Barber has been, perhaps he should have been regarded even higher.

Why hasn't Barber been more valued? Perhaps it is because of the way he has played. Kiffin rarely played man coverage, which left Barber far off the line. He never looked like the classic drape-and-deny corners like Mark Haynes or Deion Sanders or Champ Bailey.

Barber feels the lack of regard, too. Push him, and he admits that it can be a little frustrating. Doesn't every player want to be appreciated?

"Outside of my few (five) Pro Bowl years, I don't even think people consider me,'' Barber said. "All of the talk is about Charles Woodson, who does the exact same thing as I do, and the bigger market corners. I take pride in outplaying these guys.

"There are some guys who put up a lot of numbers and get a lot of attention. A lot of guys started to do the things I was doing. I say that with complete confidence. I wasn't asked to do the things that some of those other guys were.''

So, Ronde, do you consider yourself in the top five cornerbacks of your era. "Yes,'' he said.

The top three? "Yes,'' he said.


When he is on the field, Barber says he feels the same was he did in his late 20s. Ah, but there are times the years and the mileage gang up on him.

On Mondays, the day after games, his shoulders feel as if there are tiny animals gnawing away inside. His quads are sore and his hips are stiff.

There are the times daily when fellow players refer to him as "Mr. Barber.'' Times the music sounds strange. Times when he walks into the cafeteria and realizes the people his age are the scouts and coaches.

So why is Barber back for a 15th season? After all, he spent a month this season pondering whether he wanted to return, whether it was time to hang it up and head to the golf course.

"I didn't accomplish everything I wanted last year,'' Barber says. "I'm not ready to give up on it. I'm not ready to say I've accomplished everything. Either they tell you you are done, or you decide you've accomplished everything. I'm not there yet.''

There is another reason that Barber is back, too. He has been on some great teams here and on some bad ones. He has been in locker rooms where the entitlement was overwhelming. This team, he says, is different.

"I love this team,'' he said. "Last year wasn't just fun, it was a whole lot of fun.''

When you get down to it, that's why he's here. That's why he cannot bring himself to say that this may be the final chapter.

It's fun. He still loves running with the kids. He still loves watching tape with the rest of the team and hearing his name singled out for praise. He still loves winning over the doubters.

"When I leave here, I want it to be undisputed that I wasn't just a guy. I think a lot of people nationally think I'm just a guy.''

Around here, people know better. Around here, most acknowledge Barber as one of the top five Bucs of all-time. Maybe more.

Enjoy him while you can. Who knows? Seven or eight seasons from now, he may have had enough.



Ronde Speaks


Always a voice of perceptive, Bucs' cornerback Ronde Barber talked to Times columnist Gary Shelton this week about several topics.

On Raheem Morris: "I wouldn't still be playing if someone else was the coach. He has this ability to be on the same level as everyone he's around. When he's 40, he'll still be the same guy?"

On Josh Freeman: "Of the 175 or so quarterbacks I've played against, I would already put him in the top 10 or 15. For a 23-year-old, it's unbelievable how composed he is. He just gets it. You feel like he can do anything. He has this assurance: "I'm going to win this game, and if you don't want to, I'm gonig to drag you along with me. ' ''

On the Bucs' secondary? "There are guys on this roster who will be able to replace me. Big (E.J. Biggers) is a really good player. M-Lew (Myron Lewis) is a player. The young kid (Anthony) Gaiter, I love his movement. There is some real talent there.''

On Barrett Ruud: "We have so many guys who are hungry. I know we have some huge shoes to fill to replace Barrett (Ruud). I understand the business, but if we had to play a game right now, we're not the same team we were on January in New Orleans just because he's not there. We need a dominant (middle) linebacker to emerge in the next couple of weeks. You talk about under appreciated? Barrett was under appreciated.''

nitey

*
Hall of Famer
******
Posts : 3204
Offline
#1 : August 05, 2011, 08:53:56 PM

That's my guy! Go Ronde!

Have a fantastic year and show them all. Hell Darrell Green played until he was something like 41 and started the entire time, if Ronde wants to play as long as Green, I wouldn't bet against him.

Success is when Skill meets OpportunityFailure is when Fantasy meets Reality

nitey

*
Hall of Famer
******
Posts : 3204
Offline
#2 : August 05, 2011, 08:55:57 PM

For those who don't know who Darrell Green was: http://www.darrellgreen.com/fans-center/darrells-stats/

Success is when Skill meets OpportunityFailure is when Fantasy meets Reality

NYC Bucs Fan

****
Starter

Posts : 507
Offline
#3 : August 05, 2011, 10:13:27 PM

Very well written article.....showcases all the reasons why Barber is a helluva player and a class act.


JDouble

*
Hall of Famer
******
Posts : 28373
Online
#4 : August 05, 2011, 11:02:38 PM

Great read. Thanks for posting!

Draft Aaron Donald



Benchwarmer#1

******
Hall of Famer

Posts : 12187
Offline
#5 : August 05, 2011, 11:25:18 PM

"I'm going to win this game, and if you don't want to, I'm going to drag you along with me.''

Probably the best assessment of how Freeman plays that I've ever read.

An Dom's quote isn't bad either.

"I'll remember him as one of the most under-appreciated Buccaneers of all time.''

If I remember right, RB is one of the few (if not only) players to ever have a 20/20 mark on ints/sacks. There is no question, he was asked to play differently than most. Still, I can't imagine someone else doing a better job (of what he was asked to do) over the years than he did.


JDouble

*
Hall of Famer
******
Posts : 28373
Online
#6 : August 05, 2011, 11:46:28 PM

20/20? Hell he has 26/40! Truly one of the greats and very under appreciated.

Draft Aaron Donald



Benchwarmer#1

******
Hall of Famer

Posts : 12187
Offline
#7 : August 05, 2011, 11:58:47 PM

20/20? Hell he has 26/40! Truly one of the greats and very under appreciated.

Damn, that IS a lot. I thought that might have went up since the last time I looked (seasons ago).

I think if he can somehow get it close to 50/50 there is just no way he doesn't get into the HOF.


The Anti-Java

******
Hall of Famer

Posts : 22211
Offline
#8 : August 06, 2011, 12:22:45 AM

20/20? Hell he has 26/40! Truly one of the greats and very under appreciated.

Damn, that IS a lot. I thought that might have went up since the last time I looked (seasons ago).

I think if he can somehow get it close to 50/50 there is just no way he doesn't get into the HOF.




Love Ronde, but no way he makes 50/50.   This season is probably his swan song I would think.


sig pic by chace1986

PewterReportMC....
\\\\\\\"Java, do you understand this a perfect example of why people beg me to suspend or ban you on a daily basis? Are you actually trying to make a point? Seriously what is the reason for even commenting. In fact why do you even bother coming to the boards? What happened to the intelligent poster from years ago?  A real shame. Like the Bucs yesterday, a wasted effort.\\\\\\\"

grotesktruth

****
Starter

Posts : 399
Offline
#9 : August 06, 2011, 01:45:54 AM

i think if he ended with 30/45 hed be goin out with a bang honestly. id love to see him get some sacks out of those 4 2 5 scemes ...or somethin

Bucman

*
Hall of Famer
******
Posts : 12136
Online
#10 : August 06, 2011, 02:43:23 AM

I could see Barber in the HOF eventually but its going to take a long time. No way does he get in on 1st or 2nd ballot. He may be one of those guys that will be no longer alive when he gets in.


Benchwarmer#1

******
Hall of Famer

Posts : 12187
Offline
#11 : August 06, 2011, 03:52:35 AM

I could see Barber in the HOF eventually but its going to take a long time. No way does he get in on 1st or 2nd ballot. He may be one of those guys that will be no longer alive when he gets in.

Apparently if you're a NY guy you get special treatment. Revis is being brought up daily on ESPN as a HOF as soon as he's out. Heck, they're already suggesting he's better than Deon, and that crap is all wrong.

Barber will make Canton, but you're right Legend, it will be a while before he does. If he were on a larger market team it would be sooner though jmo.

JavaRay

User is banned from postingMuted
******
Hall of Famer

Posts : 17206
Offline
#12 : August 06, 2011, 03:57:30 AM

Ronde Barber and Barrett Ruud are both under appreciated players.


JavaRay

User is banned from postingMuted
******
Hall of Famer

Posts : 17206
Offline
#13 : August 06, 2011, 04:03:46 AM

I remember the 97 draft, my brother was hoping the Bucs would take Ronde Barber and I was hoping they would take Jason Taylor.    They took Ronde and Taylor went about 5 picks later.    Then the first year Ronde sucked and I was teasing my brother about it.   However, the pick turned out to be a great one.    Kudos to my brother for calling that one.


Zsnore

User is on moderator watch listWatched
*
Pro Bowler
*****
Posts : 1106
Offline
#14 : August 06, 2011, 04:14:20 AM

Quote
There are the times daily when fellow players refer to him as "Mr. Barber.'' Times the music sounds strange. Times when he walks into the cafeteria and realizes the people his age are the scouts and coaches.
Anybody else find that pretty funny?  ;D

This is what I think about the Glazers being cheap...
Page: 1 2
Pewter Report  >>  Boards  >>  The Red Board (Moderators: 3rd String Kicker, PRPatrol)  >>  Topic: This is the story of the week Ronde Barber was benched. « previous next »
:

Hide Tools Show Tools