Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Barber another for Bucs fans to savor

Ronde Barber, leaving the field at Raymond James after his last game, was the last player link to the Super Bowl title team.


Ronde Barber, leaving the field at Raymond James after his last game, was the last player link to the Super Bowl title team.

Growing up in Miami in the 1980s, it was difficult to appreciate my childhood team's storied past.

In retrospect, I didn't truly grasp that the Dolphins were a club with a uniquely glorious history, one marked by still unmatched achievements (the 1972 perfect season) and with nine Hall of Famers on its rosters in the 1970s and '80s. A young kid lacking context couldn't fully understand it all, taking most of it for granted.

But if you're a Bucs fan these days, you undoubtedly recognize what a special time this is.

DB Ronde Barber's retirement on Thursday gave us just the latest chance to celebrate another of the team's icons. Appreciating the Buccaneers' successes and the greatness of individual players is easier when there once was so little to commemorate.

Before this year, Tampa Bay had just one Hall of Famer, Lee Roy Selmon. Outside of the more recent expansion clubs, only the Bengals and Falcons had so few. Creamsicle was synonymous with futility.

But the way history will view the Bucs has changed dramatically, especially these days:

• Already this year, we've seen DT Warren Sapp's election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will be inducted into the Bucs' Ring of Honor in the fall and is having his No. 99 retired, offering yet another opportunity to recall his greatness.

• Meanwhile, LB Derrick Brooks is on deck for Canton, eligible beginning next year. And you can rest assured no Buccaneer will again wear No. 55, either.

• S John Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowl player, was a semifinalist for the Hall of Fame last year and will remain in the conversation.

• Former coach Tony Dungy, who has been at One Buc Place twice in the past two weeks — he attended the Sapp and Barber announcements — becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame next year and is thought to be a strong candidate. Look for him to eventually have his name in the Ring of Honor, too.

• Barber was given many tributes in the national media in recent days, a confirmation of his status as one of the league's great players.

While the team's golden era might be behind it, recent events have given fans a chance to relive so many of the good old days. Really, it's a great time to be a Bucs fan.

Now, imagine if the current team could just find a way to win the franchise's first postseason game since its first and only Super Bowl championship more than decade ago.

BARBER'S OFFER: One of the variables in Barber's decision to retire, though not necessarily the deciding factor, was the salary the team was willing to offer.

Given the 38-year-old's expected role as a backup for the first time since his rookie season, the Bucs were willing to commit only about $1.5 million.

That's a drastic cut from the past two seasons. Barber made $3 million in 2012 and $4 million in 2011. With his commitment to putting his body through the rigors of another season already in question, the pay cut probably made it easier to move on.

Besides, Barber is an attractive option for the TV networks, and he will recoup at least some of that money appearing on air.

HIGH HOPES: The offseason moves have QB Josh Freeman excited. And he believes the new guys can help on and off the field.

"I'm definitely fired up about this team, top to bottom, all the way around," Freeman said last week.

"I haven't had a chance to meet all the rookies and free agents, but the addition of (CB Darrelle) Revis and (S Dashon) Goldson, you can see (something) in those guys just in the way they carry themselves around the locker room. I'm fired up."

BOWERS BACK: After sustaining his torn Achilles tendon in May 2012, DE Da'Quan Bowers said he was heavier than he liked when he returned in October, playing at 288 pounds.

His goal for 2013? Get back to around 275, which is where he was when he was drafted in 2011. The hope is the projected starting left end will be faster and quicker as a result.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @HolderStephen.

Barber another for Bucs fans to savor 05/11/13 [Last modified: Saturday, May 11, 2013 9:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)