Money doesn’t buy happiness, or so we have heard all of our lives. Sometimes that is even true for football players, too. Especially Bucs players.
For Bucs star outside linebacker and top pass rusher Shaq Barrett, there were a lot more important things to consider when free agency opened up last March. Barrett told GMFB on Tuesday he never considered leaving the Buccaneers and never even listened to offers from other teams.
“It might’ve been true [that I was offered more money elsewhere], but I didn’t listen to anybody else. I didn’t hear no other offers,” Barrett said. “I wanted to make it work down here in Tampa. We’ve got something special going down here, man. And I don’t want to let greed be the reason why I don’t take advantage of this opportunity down here. We’re starting to love Tampa. We love the fan support. And I’m just ready to keep building.
“I love my coaches. I love the organization — everything is like a match made in heaven down here, man. And I won’t let trying to get a little more money change that.”
While a little more money didn’t change that for Barrett, Tampa Bay’s franchise record holder for most sacks in a single season has been paid handsomely. He recently signing a four-year, $72 million deal this past offseason. Since arriving in Tampa Bay prior to the 2019 season, the former Colorado Start standout has collected 110 tackles, 27.5 sacks, five pass breakups, an interception and a safety.
Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: USA Today
Barrett plans on earning every penny of his new deal and has set some lofty expectations for himself in 2021.
“Me personally, I’m trying to do something that’s never been done as a defensive player,” Barrett said. “I want to win MVP, I want to win Defensive Player of the Year. Like, I’m hungry for everything. Every accolade, every award, individually and as a team. I’m expecting real big things from myself this year.”
Champa Bay Bucs
With the Bucs’ success and the Lightning’s back-to-back Stanley Cups – plus the Rays reaching the World Series last year – Barrett was asked about the Tampa Bay sports community now rivaling some of the more well-known sports dynasty cities.
“[It] starts from the top down…I met the Lightning owner (Jeffrey Vinik) he’s a great guy, I’ve been to a couple Rays games – haven’t met anyone from the Rays organization – but I think its from the top down,” Barrett said. “They just build the programs the right way, the organizations the right way. We’ve gotten to bond with the players (from the other Tampa teams) and build that camaraderie on the field and on the ice or baseball diamond. We are all playing for each other and loving what we do. Each wants to be the best.
“We saw the Lightning win it (in 2020) so that elevated our game and we are like,’oh they did, now we have to do it.’ The Rays were in the championship game, and we were like, ‘oh year we have to win it next year.’ So it just elevates each other’s play when we see another team win it. I know I don’t want to be the team that leaves a championship when everyone else won. So I use that as a little bit of motivation.
“So I think we will be a championship city, a dynasty city, if we keep up on the pace we are on now.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
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