On Tuesday night's edition of Buccaneers Total Access heard on 620 WDAE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber discussed his future in the NFL. If everything works out according to his plans, Barber will return for a 14th season with the Bucs.
"Hell yeah," Barber said when asked if he wanted to play again next year. "I intend it to be yes. I've got to see if my body can deal with another offseason, but you know what, I think I will. I know I want to. There are other factors as well and those will play themselves out as the offseason goes on, but I see myself coming back. I know my coaches want me to and I know Raheem does. I feel pretty good about the way I adjusted this year to a new scheme and then adjusted back to the old scheme. I'm still having fun so I see myself back for sure."
Barber, 34, is the longest tenured player on the team and is still playing at a high level. Barber proved many of his critics wrong this season by putting together a solid performance not only on defense, but also on special teams. Barber is third on the team with 80 tackles, has recorded two sacks, forced two fumbles, blocked an extra point attempt, and returned a blocked punt 31 yards for a touchdown. This is his first season, however, without an interception since his rookie year in 1997, in which he was not a starter and played in only one game.
"This is an old man's league, what are we talking about young man's league," Barber joked. "The guy that's going to be Defensive Player of the Year is 33 years old and he's a cornerback in Green Bay [named Charles Woodson]. There's nothing that says me being a year older can't play at that level, not that I'm playing at that level because he's having an impossibly good year. It just shows you that it's about your attitude and about the way you want to play this game. Age can be a crutch for some people writing about you, but if you're in it and you don't feel like you're that old guy, then you're not going to be that old guy and I certainly don't feel like it."
Barber is the only cornerback in NFL history that is in the 20/20 club for recording at least 20 interceptions and 20 sacks throughout his career. By playing at least one more season, Barber can continue to build on his possible Hall of Fame career and get closer to his goal of being the all-time return leader in defensive touchdowns.
Once Barber decides to call it quits for good, coaching most likely will not be something the 13-year veteran wants any part of.
"I can't see myself coaching," said Barber. "Their hours are ridiculous. I like my kids and I never say never obviously, but I'm not looking forward to it because they put a lot of work in. Raheem always says, ‘Those who can, play. Those who can't play, coach.' I still like that I can so I'm not even thinking about coaching."