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Tampa Bay Buccaneers experiment with Ronde Barber at safety

TAMPA — The Bucs' oldest player may be asked to learn a new position.

CB Ronde Barber, 37, who recently agreed to return for a 16th season, took reps at safety during the first minicamp Tuesday under new coach Greg Schiano.

Last week the Bucs released S Tanard Jackson and have only four safeties on the roster: Cody Grimm, Larry Asante, Ahmad Black and Devin Holland. Only Grimm has started a regular-season game.

The Bucs signed Lions free agent CB Eric Wright to a five-year contract and also have CB Aqib Talib, who is scheduled to go on trial June 25 in Texas on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

Barber may be asked to provide depth at safety or possibly play there during the regular season.

"That's one of those (experiments)," Schiano said. "I think Ronde can certainly do it and did a good job (Tuesday). How do we get the best 11 on the field?''

There are other safety possibilities on the roster, Schiano said, and the position can be addressed in free agency and the draft.

Barber was unavailable for comment.

Shortly after signing a one-year, $3 million contract last month, the five-time Pro Bowl selection indicated that at 5 feet 10, 184 pounds, he might be too small for safety.

"I'm tiny," he said. "I'll fit in where I fit in. They know that I'm here to help this team win, no matter what role I'm in."

LB MOVES: The Bucs are considering several moves at linebacker, where they haven't replaced departed weak-side starter Geno Hayes and are undecided about whether Mason Foster will continue to be the middle linebacker.

Tuesday the team experimented with Quincy Black in the middle and had him running the defensive huddle and making defensive calls. Foster handled those responsibilities last season.

"We're so preliminary at this point, trying to figure out what's the best way to do it," Schiano said. "Not just to run the huddle, but if he's doing that, maybe somebody else can look at something else and make calls. We'll figure out who the best guys are to do that. But I think Quincy has some maturity about him. You know, he's been doing this for a little bit."

ROLL CALL: Schiano said all but one player he expected to attend the voluntary camp did; he didn't name the player. Also not attending was K Connor Barth, the designated franchise player. He hasn't signed his tender and hopes for a long-term extension.

TRYOUT PLAYERS: The Bucs had five participants who are in the camp on a tryout basis:

RB Robert Hughes (Notre Dame), FB/TE Richard Kay (Central Florida), DT Ayanga Okpokowuruk (Duke), DT Landon Cohen (Ohio) and S Ron Gerault (Rutgers).

KICKER CLAIMED: The Bucs claimed Kai Forbath off waivers, giving them a third kicker. The Bucs didn't say if the acquisition was related to Barth's status. Forbath — who at UCLA won the 2009 Lou Groza Award, given to the top college kicker — spent last season with the Cowboys on the reserve/non-football injury list with a quadriceps injury.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers experiment with Ronde Barber at safety 04/17/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 9:52pm]
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