The Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially signed cornerback Ronde Barber to a contract extension Wednesday.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Barber was entering the final year of his contract with the Buccaneers. According to FoxSports.com, Barber signed a five-year extension worth as much as $24 million.

A third-round pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, Barber, 31, has played an integral role in helping Tampa Bay’s defense rank in the Top 10 in each of his nine seasons with the Buccaneers. He has notched 770 tackles, 28 interceptions, seven forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and 146 passes defensed during his career.

“This team has always put me in a position to succeed and I think I’ve done a lot to help this team win,” said Barber. “These days, there aren’t a lot of guys who get to play their whole career for one team, and to do so here would be an honor for me. They made it clear that they appreciate me, and I’m glad we could get a deal done today.”

The Bucs, who also are attempting to sign several players that are entering the final year of their contracts, believe Barber’s new contract will give him the opportunity to retire a Buccaneer.

“We believe Ronde’s future is as bright as his past,” said General Manager Bruce Allen. “Any time you can re-sign a team captain and a perennial All-Pro player, it is a great day for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Keeping him here with the Buccaneers was one of our priorities. Both sides were motivated to get a deal done. Now Buccaneer fans can enjoy watching this outstanding performer for years to come.”

Last season, Barber earned a second consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl by recording 120 tackles, two sacks, a team-high five interceptions and 22 passes defensed en route to helping Tampa Bay’s defense finish the season ranked No. 1 overall.

In addition to being the only cornerback in NFL history to notch 20 career interceptions and 20 career sacks, Barber is just four interceptions away from breaking Tampa Bay’s franchise record, which currently is held by former Bucs CB Donnie Abraham (31 picks from 1996-2001).


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