The record-setting amazing run is over.
After 16 seasons in the NFL Tampa Bay's legendary cornerback Ronde Barber has decided to retire, according to a report from Jay Glazer of FOX.
The Buccaneers organization and fans have been on the Barber watch since the season concluded, waiting to see if the team’s all-time leader in games played would return for a final season.
Many, including PewterReport.com, speculated that Barber would return, especially with the secondary upgrades but after having months to decide, Barber decided to hang up his future Hall of Fame cleats telling Glazer, “"I've had a better run than I ever could've dreamed of having."
Earlier this year, in his weekly Fab 5 column, PewterReport.com publisher Scott Reynolds noted the lengthy list of Barber’s accomplishments during his 16 seasons in the NFL.
• Barber played more seasons (16) than any other player in Tampa Bay history. Had he returned for a 17th season, Barber would have tied 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.
• Barber was a five-time Pro Bowler, a distinction that ties him for the third-most appearances in franchise history with Lynch and Nickerson, in addition to being a three-time All-Pro, which is one more year’s worth of that honor than either Lynch or Nickerson received. In 2012, which was his first year as a starting free safety, Barber was a Pro Bowl alternate.
• Barber played in 240 consecutive games, and has 215 consecutive starts. Both are franchise records. His 215 consecutive starts are the most by any current NFL player.
• Barber had 232 career starts, including 200 consecutive starts at cornerback, which is the most in NFL history.
• Barber had 10 career NFC Player of the Week awards (nine on defense, one on special team), which is the most in Buccaneers history. Barber’s nine NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors are tied for the most in league history with Lewis and three Hall of Famers in defensive ends Chris Doleman and Bruce Smith, and linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
• Barber is the second-leading tackler in Tampa Bay history with 1,428, ranking behind only Brooks, who notched 2,198 stops in his Buccaneers career.
• Barber is the franchise’s all-time leading interceptor with 47 picks. He is the only player in NFL history to record at least 40 interceptions and 25 sacks in his career. In 2001, he led the NFL with 10 interceptions.
• 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.
• Barber’s 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 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.
• Barber had a franchise-record three defensive touchdowns in the postseason to give him a total of 15 non-offensive scores in his illustrious career.
• Barber is the first player in NFL history with at least eight interceptions returned for a touchdown, four fumble returns for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown.
• Barber is the first Buccaneer to have blocked a punt, a field goal and an extra point in franchise history.
In that column Reynolds also wrote about a conversation he had with Barber in 2011. Barber, by that point in his career, had finally accepted his place in Buccaneers history.
“A couple of years ago I was at the stadium for Tony Dungy’s retirement party and all four of us were there,” Barber said at the time. “The three of them (Sapp, Brooks and Lynch) got up there together and were saying stuff about Tony and I thought to myself, ‘I’m not in that group. I don’t need to be up there. I’m not part of that.’ At the time I was thinking, ‘You have this great defense and you have one guy from each unit.’ But that was a couple years ago. Now with what I have done for this football team and the 40 interceptions, looking back, I probably should be part of that group.”
Reynolds also asked Barber about the now legendary 92-yard interception that sent the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl in 2002.
“It’s a great place to start, but I don’t want that play to define me,” Barber said. “Obviously, it still resonates in this building. There are pictures of that hanging all over the walls. It’s propelled me into stardom around here. Not that I wasn’t a good player before, but it separated me. I think that play made me a brand name around town, but amongst my peers – the old guys before and the new guys now – I wanted them to think I was a guy that did everything and would do everything, and that I’m a great player because of that.”
In 2011, Barber stated to Reynolds how he wanted to be remembered.
“Outside of this building I’d like to be known as a guy that had the best interests of this team in mind,” Barber said. “I excelled in spite of what everyone else thought I couldn’t do. The guy that preserved and had pride in being able to preserve – I think that’s what I want people to know me as.”
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.