Is this the end for Bucs great Ronde Barber?
Whether Ronde Barber distinguished himself during 15 seasons is not a subject that is up for debate. The only question right now is whether the Buccaneers great plans to come back and play cornerback for Tampa Bay in 2012.
After leaving Sunday’s game at halftime because of a right forearm injury, Barber conceded that this might be the end. And, with the Bucs losing another lopsided game and falling to 4-12 on the season, it’s not the potential victory tour Barber had dreamed of.
“I want to go out like Michael Strahan,” Barber joked, referencing the former Giants defensive end who won the Super Bowl in his final game.
“Ideally that’s how you want to do it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t ever work out that way, except for him. I don’t know if this is the last chapter. Perhaps it is, but maybe not. I don’t know. I’d much rather prefer having something to celebrate instead of something to lament. And this season is definitely not the best to remember.”
Barber reached another landmark in his final game, playing in his 225th game, the most in franchise history. He passed Derrick Brooks (224) when he started Sunday’s game. It was Barber’s 199th consecutive start, the NFL’s longest streak among active players.
Even at this stage of his career, it irked Barber to have to sit on the sideline in street clothes during the second half. He had left the game to get treatment for his injury during the first half, but returned after a brief absence. Ultimately, coach Raheem Morris had to tell him to sit out.
“In 15 years in the league I’ve never done that,” he said, speaking of leaving a game because of an injury. “But with the game out of hand and me pretty significantly (injured), it just didn’t make any sense. Raheem told me I was done (and let) some of these young guys get some playing time. It’s frustrating. I always tell you I hate watching other people do my job.”
Will Barber do the job ever again? He already has said Morris’ fate will affect his decision. That’s something he can’t control.
“There’s a lot of things that will go into that decision,” he said. “I think the best thing to do with 2011 is throw it in the scrap heap with 2009, see where that takes me. I don’t know what’s going to weigh in that decision.''