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michael89156:


Fennelly: Barber last man standing from Super Bowl team.






 2003, JASON BEHNKEN/STAFF
Ronde Barber's interception return in the NFC championship game victory over the Eagles is the signature play in Bucs history.



 By The Tampa Tribune
 Published: December 07, 2012



TAMPA
 
One stayed behind.
 
The Bucs will honor their 2002 Super Bowl championship team Sunday when they play the Eagles. Nearly everyone is coming to the reunion. Who wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall, or a bartender, as Sapp and Brooks, Gruden and Keyshawn, Lynch, Alstott, Rice and all the rest go back in time? They'll be introduced at halftime.
 
Ronde Barber isn't sure he'll be there with them.
 
"I've got to work," he said.
 
One stayed behind.
 
Ten seasons later, Barber is the only one left. He's the only Bucs player left from that Super Bowl season. Forget that. He's the only player from that team still playing in the NFL. Think about that. And this:
 
The man still has it.
 
"I'm better," Barber said with a grin. "I don't decline. As soon as I decline, I'm done."
 
He's a safety now. He's 37, in his 16th season, playing for his fourth Bucs head coach. And he is making plays. He still has a knack for the moment. They're "Barber Moments" or "Barber Games" after all these years.
 
When he began this season with his 200th start at cornerback, Barber was all over the field and was named NFC defensive player of the week. When he tied Derrick Brooks for most career Bucs starts, he took an interception back for a score. When he broke the record the next week, he picked off Drew Brees.
 
This Sunday has Barber Game written all over it.
 
"I don't know what it is," Barber said of his moments. "I don't know why, it just is."
 
Ten seasons ago, it just was and it always will be.
 
On the way to a world championship, there came the signature play in Bucs history.
 
It was Ronde Barber, then a 27-year-old cornerback, running down the sideline with a Donovan McNabb pass in cold, dark Veterans Stadium, all the way, 92 yards to clinch the NFC title game with a touchdown.
 
The Eagles, official Bucs tormentors, were dead. The Vet had seen its last game. Philly fans clammed up, a silence so majestic it's part of Bucs history. A world championship seemed forgone as soon as Ronde Barber crossed that goal line.
 
"Yeah, 200 Jet All Omaha," Eagles coach Andy Reid said this week, reciting the play call. "He got us. He picked it and took it the distance. He was a heck of a player then, and still a heck of a player."
 
"The enormity of the moment didn't hit me until later," Barber said. " I do remember the quiet. And I remember the guy in the right corner of the end zone who was talking trash before the game. I wanted to go right to him, but I didn't."
 
It was 10 seasons ago.
 
Here is Ronde, still.
 
He says Bucs GM Mark Dominik finally convinced him to return for 2012 and work with another coach, Greg Schiano. It meant switching positions. It meant more leadership. And now it means having his 2002 teammates marvel all the more at the one who stayed behind.
 
"I've done some good things this season, some," Barber said. "I think I'm probably most happy with being able to be a leader of these guys, because that's really what they're asking me to do. I can see a lot of these young guys looking at me, especially on Sundays, looking for help, me telling them to calm down, it'll be all right."
 
Here is Ronde, still.
 
He hasn't worn his Super Bowl ring in forever. He shows you his ring finger and says it's too gnarled by pro football to hold any ring, but that he wouldn't wear it anyway. He's still on the job. He was that night 10 years ago, too.
 
"It was a long run," Barber said. "I was struggling, too. I had a torn knee ligament. I was humping it to get there."
 
He got there. So did the Bucs.
 
They made the drivers bang the bus horns all the way through done and dead Philadelphia on the way to the airport. Before the team charter flew low over Raymond James Stadium and they saw all the fans, someone handed Barber a present: a piece of Veterans Stadium's green carpet.
 
"It's taped to that ball in my trophy case upstairs," Barber said.
 
In his last four games against the Eagles, Ronde Barber has three interceptions all for touchdowns.
 
Here is Ronde, still.
 
One stayed behind.
 
"Every day I see one Ronde."
 
"Yeah, 200 Jet All Omaha. He got us. He picked it and took it the distance. He was a heck of a player then, and still a heck of a player."

NotDeadYet:
     Dang; Fennelly actually can write a good article!
     Didn't know Ronde "The Philadelphia Terminator" had 3 pick 6's in his last 4 games vs the Eagles...

Benchwarmer#1:
Someone forgot to tell barber.... fatally wounding an endangered species is illegal.

1sparkybuc:
IIRC Ronde has 7 interceptions of Donovan McNabb, more than any other QB he ever faced. I bet McNabb still wakes up in a cold sweat from Barber nightmares.

NotDeadYet:
    And Reid, after 10 years, still remembers the exact play. Now THAT has to be an Andy Reid nightmare; if not now, it will be...

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