Ronde Barber: The streak continues
Lost in the shuffle of Sunday's loss to the Lions was an astonishing stat: Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber took over the NFL's longest active streak of consecutive starts after the Colts' Peyton Manning underwent another surgical procedure on his neck area.
As the Bucs head to Minneapolis for Sunday's game against the Vikings, Barber will make his 185th consecutive start.
If you ask Barber about this, he goes out of his way to insist it's not a big deal.
"It is what it is," he said after Sunday's game. "I just keep playing. There’s nothing magical about it. It’s just playing football. A guy hit (Manning), he got hurt."
But this is a very big deal.
We asked Barber what was the closest he came to missing a game or start during this streak. You might recall Barber played with a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his knee during the Bucs' Super Bowl season in 2002. It was painful and unstable, but Barber pressed on until undergoing surgery after the season.
He said that he would never have forgiven himself had he opted out that year, not because his streak would no longer be intact but because he would not have been part of some of his career's most memorable moments.
And a point that hasn't been brought up about Barber's streak is this: He is, for a cornerback, an extremely physical player. That's not true of every defensive back. But Barber is one of the best tacklers on the Bucs' defense, even at 36. His use as a pass rusher from the nickel cornerback spot is more evidence that he's quite willing to mix it up.
Yet, somehow, he's managed to stay healthy and not miss a start since 1999. And despite what Barber might say, that is a very big deal.