One of the greatest Buccaneers in franchise history is getting his name forever displayed on the walls of Raymond James Stadium in the Bucs Ring of Honor.
Tampa Bay announced on Tuesdaythat cornerback, later turned safety, Ronde Barber will be the newest addition to the Bucs Ring of Honor that pays tribute to players who excelled on the field. It was revealed the induction will take place at halftime of Tampa Bay’s game against the New York Giants on September 22.
Barber, a third-round draft pick in 1997, played 16 years in Tampa Bay where he recorded 1,231 tackles, 166 pass deflections, had 47 interceptions, 28 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and scored 14 touchdowns – 12 of which came on defense.
None of his interceptions were more important than the one that came in the 2002 NFC Championship game. That 92-yard interception return for a touchdown of a Donovan McNabb pass propelled the Bucs to their first and only Super Bowl appearance in 2002.
The Bucs beat the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII for their only championship, and while Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks and Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp get the bulk of the credit, Barber was a key component on a defense that was one of the best in the NFL for several years under legendary defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Barber is now eligible for his own induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but was not one of the finalists last year, which was his first year of eligibility.
Barber was a five-time Pro Bowler (2001, 2004-06, 2008), a three-time first-team All-Pro (2001, 2004, 2005) and a two-time second-team All-Pro (2002, 2006), in addition to being a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, which is of great importance to the Hall of Fame voters. Barber also led the league in interceptions in 2001 with a career-high 10.
Barber’s Tampa Bay career got off to an unimpressive start in 1997, as he only played in one game as a rookie, collecting just three tackles. Things began to change in 1998 when Barber found his footing – and a role as a nickel cornerback on third downs and obvious passing downs – in Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 defense. Barber started nine games that season, but played in all 16, and recorded 67 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Barber continued to evolve as a player through four different coaches, and in 2012 officially switched from cornerback to safety under Greg Schiano and had a solid season, notching 91 tackles, 13 passes breakups and four interceptions.
Following the 2012 season, Barber announced his retirement and took a job that he continues to hold today as a color commentator for FOX Sports’ NFL broadcasts, in addition to serving in that role for the Bucs’ preseason TV broadcasts on WFLA News Channel 8.
On Tuesday Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer released this statement on the upcoming induction.
“Rondé Barber personified greatness on and off the field during his 16 seasons as a Buccaneer and we look forward to honoring his remarkable career this upcoming season. His achievements are as impressive as they are long, but Rondé ’s most defining qualities were his ultra-competitive nature, his passion for this game, and his love of the Tampa Bay community.”