Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs 'tough guy' Barber announces retirement

TAMPA — He would have played. Of course, he would have played again.

Had Bucs coach Greg Schi­ano and general manager Mark Dominik told Ronde Barber in March they were counting on him to be a starter at age 38, he probably would have pulled on the pads in 2013.

"It would've made the decision (about retiring) a lot harder," Barber said Thursday. "There's a good chance that yes, I probably could've made a different decision. But that wasn't the case. I'm not averse to competition. They've been trying to replace me for years.

"If I wanted to come back with the guys they brought in, I would've found a way."

Barber, who started his last 215 games, is the Bucs' iron man, all right. A cornerback for 15 seasons and safety for his last one, he has a steel plate in his arm, a plate in his thumb and six pins in his foot. But the dollars and desire no longer are in abundance.

"When that meeting broke up, I told them I was probably good either way," Barber said. "That's probably not the answer I should've been giving."

Schiano noticed the change.

"The year before, it wasn't that," Schiano said. "I didn't have any concern when he said that. But he said it at the end of our conversation, and I kind of was like, 'Hmm.' "

At a news conference at One Buc Place filled with family, former teammates and coaches, a tearful Barber announced his retirement. He said he decided about a month ago. But not wanting to interrupt free agency, the trade for cornerback Darrelle Revis, the draft and Warren Sapp's selection to the Ring of Honor, he kept it a secret until Wednesday.

The last active member of the Super Bowl XXXVII title team said he will miss not just Sundays but coming to work day after day as one of the league's most durable players.

"I think the best way to end it is to say, 'I had fun,' " Barber said. "I loved coming to work every day; even last year when (Schiano) beat us up. I love football. I'll always love football. But football is just what I did. It's not who I am, and I'm ready to move on. I'm ready to do what's next.

"You turn enough chapters in one book, you finally get to the end. You shut it, put it on the bookshelf and you pick up another book. That's what I'm going to do right now."

Barber said twin brother Tiki, the former Giants running back, inspired him throughout his career.

"I almost wanted him to succeed more than I even wanted myself to succeed," he said. "I'm a great football player because he was a great football player, and I think he'd say the same about me."

Barber, a third-round pick out of Virginia in 1997, recounted his journey from a struggling rookie who played in only one game before being thrust into the lineup for an NFC division playoff game at Green Bay to the durable five-time Pro Bowl player who holds the club record for games played (241) and started (232).

Barber recorded 47 interceptions, 205 passes defensed, 1,476 tackles, 28 sacks and 16 forced fumbles.

"The numbers speak for themselves," he said on if he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

In the end, Barber said he wants people to remember him as "the toughest dude I ever saw play."

How tough?

During the 2002 season, which ended with the Super Bowl, he broke his left thumb and doctors told him he would miss four weeks.

"I looked at him and said, 'Let's have surgery on Monday because I'm practicing on Wednesday,' " Barber said. "He put a plate in there, put eight pins in there, put a little soft cast on and a splint, and I went and practiced on Wednesday.

"I can't say it enough. I never wanted to see anybody else do what I knew I could do better."

Nobody ever did.

Rick Stroud can be reached at stroud @tampabay.com and heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620. Follow him on Twitter at @NFLStroud.

The Greatest Play

With the Bucs leading the Eagles 20-10 and 3:12 remaining in the 2002 NFC Championship Game, Philadelphia began a furious rally. With first and goal at the Bucs 10, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb tried to hit receiver Antonio Freeman on a slant. Barber faked a blitz, then dropped back into coverage and stepped in front for the pass for the interception and ran 92 yards into playoff history. Click the red dots below to read facts and quotes about Barber's renowned play.

 

Bucs 'tough guy' Barber announces retirement 05/09/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 13, 2014 12:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule

    Tennis

    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]
  2. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans

    Blogs

    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  3. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?

    Blogs

    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  4. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

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

  5. State baseball: Unbeaten Calvary Christian makes it 29 straight wins, reaches final

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian is one game from season-long perfection. And its first state championship.

     Calvary Christian players celebrate their win after the FHSAA class 4A semi-final against American Heritage on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary defeated American Heritage 7 to 1. Calvary takes on Pensacola Catholic in the championship tomorrow night, at Hammond Stadium.