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March 9, 2013 @ 12:36 pm
Current rating: 1 Star/1 Votes

Return Or Retire? Bucs Give Barber More Time To Decide

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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The Buccaneers want free safety Ronde Barber back for another season and made that clear with a public statement on Saturday. Barber, who will turn 38 in April, is still mulling over his option to return for a 17th NFL season or retire, and needs more time to make that decision.
The Buccaneers have made it clear that they want free safety Ronde Barber to return for a 17th season, and following a meeting with Barber head coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik, the team's G.M. reiterated that publicly in a statement on Saturday.

"Coach Schiano and I met with Ronde this past week and expressed our
desire for him to return to play another season with the Buccaneers," Dominik said. "He
asked us for some time to make his decision and we certainly respect

Barber, who will turn 38 on April 7, appreciates the team's interest, but needs more time to decide whether he wants to retire from the NFL or play one more season with Tampa Bay. He signed a one-year contract worth $3 million last year after signing a one-year $4 million contract prior to the 2011 season.

"They want me to play, but they have left it up to me like they have pretty much every year," Barber told the Tampa Bay Times at the DeBartolo Family Foundation All-Star Celebrity Gala. "I've got time, so I'm going to take my time."

Barber has played more seasons (16) than any other player in Tampa Bay history. If he returns for a 17th season, Barber will tie Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis for the second-most in NFL history for the most seasons with an original team. Kicker Jason Hanson holds the record for spending 21 years with the Detroit Lions.

After spending his first 15 years at cornerback, Barber seamlessly made the transition to free safety in 2012 and was a Pro Bowl alternate. Barber is a five-time Pro Bowler, a distinction that ties him for the third-most appearances in franchise history with former strong safety John Lynch and middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson, in addition to being a three-time All-Pro, which is one h of that honor than either Lynch or Nickerson received.

Should Barber return, his legend will continue to grow. He has played in more consecutive games (240) with more consecutive starts (215) than any other Buccaneer, and his consecutive start streak is the most by any current NFL player. Barber has 232 career starts, including 200 consecutive starts at cornerback, which is the most in NFL history.

Not only is Barber, the Bucs' all-time leading interceptor with 47 picks, he is also the second-leading tackler in Tampa Bay history with 1,428, ranking behind only former linebacker Derrick Brooks, who notched 2,198 stops in his Buccaneers career. Barber is the only player in NFL history to record at least 40 interceptions and 25 sacks in his career. His 28 career sacks are the seventh-most in Buccaneers history. With two more sacks and three more interceptions Barber would become the only player in NFL history with an even 50 picks and 30 sacks.

Barber’s 92-yard interception return for a touchdown in the 2002 NFC Championship Game at Philadelphia sealed the team’s victory and paved the way for the Buccaneers to win the franchise’s first and only Super Bowl title, which came against Oakland a week later. Barber’s pick-six of Eagles QB Donovan McNabb is widely regarded as the top play in Tampa Bay history.

In 2012, Barber had 91 tackles, one sack and once again led the Buccaneers with four interceptions, including one which he returned for a touchdown against Kansas City. Barber has scored the most non-offensive touchdowns in Buccaneers history (12). His 12 regular season scores are tied for the third-most in NFL history. With one more defensive score, Barber will be tied for first all-time with former NFL defensive backs Darren Sharper and Rod Woodson.

Despite solid play from Barber, Tampa Bay's pass defense ranked last in the NFL, and surrendered 297.4 yards per game. While the Bucs want Barber, a long-time team captain, to return, what is uncertain is whether or not he would be guaranteed his starting job back or whether there would be an open competition between Barber, third-year free safety Ahmad Black, who had a breakout season last year with 31 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles, and Keith Tandy, a 2012 sixth-round draft pick that led the Bucs in tackles in the preseason.

Last modified on Saturday, 09 March 2013 13:03

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  • avatar

    I say he has got class. I believe he will help the new players coming IN GO BUCS
  • avatar

    I hope Ronde comes back for one more season. It would be great to have BARBER and BARRON at the safety positions , and REVIS and a top notch free agent corner at the cornerback positions . I just hope they don 't turn one of the cornerback positions over to MYRON LEWIS . Myron, would probably be good at tending the front gate at Paradise Lakes Resort , not trying to play cornerback in the NFL .
  • avatar

    martinii i know i came off as a jerk im sorry for that. I just see people do it all the time and makes me wonder why...
  • avatar

    Hey pomer1eau---Rhonde, Rhonde, Rhonde, Rhonde....lol
  • avatar

    While we're correcting spelling of names. Martini, It's Lee Roy not Leroy. And Rhonda"? Really Martini.
  • avatar

    I have all the respect in the world for Ronde Barber. He ranks up there with Brooks, Sapp, and Leroy Selmon. However it is time that he stands in front of the mirror and says YES or NO!!!! He owes it to himself, the coaches, the team, and most of all the fans. I had to make the call and call it quits although I may have stuck it out another year. Ya just got to man-up. Unfortunately we all don't get the opportunity to decide ( see Derrick Brooks.). On Tuesday a lot of highly needed talent is going to be available. Team needed talent as well as coaches and Management needed talent. Rhonda has always been there for Tampa and I don't think he is ready to hurt the team. Yes or No. We will still respect him. Go Buc's..........
  • avatar

    I apologize pomer1eau I misspelled Ronde once. I was not an English major.
  • avatar

    Why do people still put an H in RONDES name there is no damn H its not Rhonde. Youre a fan so get it right. I see it all the time and its pretty annoying coming from other Buc Fans. Especially when the article it self has the name spelled correctly.
  • avatar

    I'd like to see Ronde come back for another one-more-year. IMO he's NOT living on his legend. He played well enough to be a pro bowl alternate at his new position last year. I also think we need to be bringing in his eventual replacement. Even Ronde isn't going to be able to play forever, and I'm not sold on Ahmad Black and his short stature as his long-term replacement. If we can bring in a young guy this year, then let Ronde play a ball-hawking center fielder in nickel and dime. If we can't find a quality replacement till next year, then I'm very comfortable with Ronde playing our starting FS. With a young team like ours, Mr. Barber is well worth having in the locker room no matter where or how much he's playing.
  • avatar

    I am going to disagree with most of you. HORSE- fair at best? how did you come to that conclusion?WE had no pass rush and pathetic CB's.Why do you think the coaching staff that you have praised before want him back? There has to be a reason right? I like younger too but Rhonde is experienced and is more than likely a player/coach already. He has VALUE. We have many other holes to fill this year on defense and getting another safety next year through FA or draft makes it easier to focus on bigger areas of need this year. COME ON BACK RHONDE!!
  • avatar

    I'd like to see him part time in the slot as nickel back. He's getting long in the tooth, but can still fill in almost anywhere in the secondary. I'd love to see the Bucs draft the Badger in the later rounds and have Barber teach him slot.
  • avatar

    Horse, I think if he does come back to a lesser role, hell still be the opening play starter just to keep his streak going.
  • avatar

    Horse... Well said!
  • avatar

    Please decide soon Ronde! If you do decide to retire but not ill after FA or the draft that kinda leaves the safety position at a weak spot. I dont think Black is ready to be the starter at FS and I wouldnt mind to see the team get Delmas to take his spot if he does retire.
  • avatar

    I hope Rhonde retires and we will give him a big half time celebration in a game this season. At this point it is time to let a young guy replace Rhonde. If we have to play him so he can just keep extending his games starting over someone who is just as fair as Barber, then I believe it is hurting the team. Barber is fair at best in this game and most of us know that. Now if he is willing to check his ego and be a non starting player. asst. coach, and asst scout, then I am all for it. This is a business and Rhonde has less value as a player versus his celebrity status at this point. Just my opinion and I totally respect Rhonde for what he has done in the past.
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