Despite a disappointing 4-11 season and not knowing for certain whether or not he will be back next year, Buccaneer cornerback Ronde Barber took time out to speak with the local media about his career as well as his head coach Raheem Morris’s future.
When Barber was asked if he ever thought that he would be in the league for fifteen years he was light-hearted with the media in his response.
“I know a lot of people in your business certainly didn’t,” Barber. “No, I didn’t honestly. I wouldn’t have expected it even five years ago, but I have been able to maintain and been able to continue to perform at a level that everybody thinks is satisfactory. It has been good. It has been a good ride. Glad to be where I am at to be honest with you.”
The veteran player is unsure of whether or not he will be playing the game he loves next year. He has a decision to make that will not be an easy one. “I don’t know about next year. Next year will be next year. Maybe sit on my couch who knows? Maybe out here back playing with these young kids again we will see.
“At this point, yes I feel like I can play another year, but I will see what January has to hold before I make any of those decisions.”
It is no secret that Ronde Barber is a fan of head coach Raheem Morris. Barber was asked if he thought that people were reading too much into his future being decided upon Morris' future. According to him, that is somewhat true.
“That is a good question. I would be lying if I didn’t say that is somewhat true. We will see. We will see. Ideally I would love to be back and play with Rah (Raheem Morris) and play with Jimmy (Lake) and play with Joe Baker—play with all those guys. They are great coaches. They are fun to be around. They understand me and I understand them. So I imagine that would have something to do with it.”
Barber says that going to the ownership to try to make a case for Morris to keep his job is not something that he as a player should do.
“That is not for me to do. Even out there if there is one person that could do it, it probably would be me, but that is not my job.”
Despite Morris and his team going 10-6 last year and being 4-11 so far this year, Barber still has a high opinion of Morris. He believes that Morris did nothing different this year in comparison to last year as far as his coaching.
“I have lots of good opinions about Rah (Raheem Morris),” Barber said. “He is a good friend of mine and I want well for him. He deserves a team that plays its *censored* off for him to be honest with you. Guys that care about winning football because that’s what good coaches have. Rah—he is going to be Raheem and we all know who Raheem is. He doesn’t pretend that he is somebody else [and] he never will. Rah didn’t do anything different this year than he did last year. The results are starkly different so if that’s who we want as a head coach then that’s who we got. That’s about as comfortable I can be with it if they ask me. Pretty sure that’s what he would say.”
The Saturday night contest against the Cowboys earlier this months may very well have been Barber’s swan song; however, the same can be said in previous years as he has contemplated his future for several years now.
“I had that same thought three years running leaving the stadium. So no it’ – if that was it is no more different than it was last year or the year before when I left that stadium last home game of the season.”
Having been in the league for fifteen years, Ronde Barber has been able to achieve a number of accomplishments. Even though he has a Super Bowl ring and is tied with Derrick Brooks (and will pass him this Sunday) for playing the most games in team franchise history, the respect he has received is what stands out the most to him.
“I don’t know what means the most,” Barber said. “Probably the respect that I have out of the building because of all those things and how I have been as a player on and off the field. That’s all you got is your legacy when you are done. Not that I am done. I could be but…”
The veteran cornerback has made several plays throughout the years, but couldn’t name just one favorite.
“I have many of them – many of them. There is no one that stands out. I am not one to rest on memories or pretend like one is more important than the other because it is not.”
Even though the Virginia graduate is uncertain of what his future in this league holds, one thing is for certain—he will be proud. He will be proud of what he has accomplished in a league where not many get to have long careers. He will be proud of the effort he has put in each game he has played. From his first game in 1997 to his last game whenever it may be, he will be just as proud as if it were his first.
“I will be as proud of my last game whenever that is as I was my first game. My Mom tells me the same thing every time I play – just play proud.”