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)

Ronde Barber fighting off Father Time for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA — Ronde Barber would like to end his NFL career on his own terms. The 35-year-old cornerback is entering his 14th season and the final year of his contract with the Bucs.

If it plays out the way Barber hopes, perhaps at the end of the 2010 season, he will be the one initiating the goodbyes.

"Very few guys get to go into Mark Dominik's office or Raheem Morris' office and say, 'Hey buddy, I'm done. I've had enough,' " Barber said Tuesday. "Most guys get it the other way. They don't think you can play anymore. But that's what it would be for me, to look those guys in the eyes, and call the Glazers and say, 'Thanks for the opportunity, it's been fun.' I don't know when that is. Maybe it will be at the end of this year."

The five-time Pro Bowl pick is coming off a season in which he had no interceptions for the first time since his rookie year. But Barber says the tape indicates he played well in 2009, despite the Bucs' struggles on defense until coach Raheem Morris took over playcalling for the final six games.

Barber said he isn't certain when he will know the right time to step away, but he knows he won't play below the standard he has established.

"For me, I have no idea what it will be, but I'll know," Barber said. "You all won't know. It won't be to the point where you all are sitting up in the press box and you say, 'God, that dude can't play anymore.' I promise you it won't be that.

"It's there, obviously. I'm not thinking about it. It's nothing I have to address. I'm 35 years old, man. I don't pretend that I'm not. I understand the end is nearer than the beginning. Significantly so. But that's not going to affect how I come to work every day."

Barber, the Bucs' career interception leader, eventually will give away to another cornerback. The Bucs hope Vanderbilt rookie Myron Lewis will one day take his place. Morris has raised the prospect of Barber playing another five years as the slot defender during nickel pass situations.

Certainly, Barber, the Bucs' lone survivor from their Super Bowl XXXVII victory, appears in good shape. He says every year he changes his offseason training regimen. This year, he trained with his wife, Claudia, for biathlons.

But when he was a third-round pick out of Virginia in 1997, he never figured to play 14 NFL seasons.

"I definitely didn't set out (to play) this long," Barber said. "When I started, I was like, 'Can I get three years without them cutting me?' Can I get three years in? I tell a lot of our guys this … you can't start out looking to play 14 years. That's impossible.

"You don't know how your injury situation is going to go, you damn sure don't know how your contract situation is going to go, what the market is going to tell you you're worth. You just keep grinding day to day. … Fourteen years later, you're still here."

But don't think this will be a nostalgic season. He's not into farewell tours. Besides, Barber said he has already surveyed his surroundings.

"I've been smelling roses for five years, bro," Barber said. "At least three of them. I remember I walked off the field last year against Atlanta and I was like, 'Damn, if I decide in a month or whenever I decide whether to play or not … if this is the last time I'm looking at this stadium as a player, what am I going to remember?' I've done that in a lot of places I've been to. At the end of the day, I still decided I wanted to play and I'm still going."

Ronde Barber fighting off Father Time for Tampa Bay Buccaneers 05/18/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 7:53am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 11:01: No Dickerson today as the Rays go with seven right-handers.

    Here is the lineup:

  2. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  3. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  5. ‘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]