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Who should be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor next? The list starts with Ronde Barber

Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy will becomes the 12th member of the Bucs Ring of Honor this season. Which got us to thinking: who should be next?
Bucs defensive back Ronde Barber (20) should be next in the team's Ring of Honor. [Times files]
Published May 9, 2018

Tony Dungy was selected for induction into the Bucs Ring of Honor, with the ceremony occurring during halftime of the Monday Night Football game vs. the Steelers Sept. 24.

Dungy becomes the third head coach and the 12th member of the ROH, joining John McKay (2010) and Jon Gruden, who led the Bucs to their only Super Bowl title.

The other members of the Bucs' ROH include Lee Roy Selmon, tight end Jimmie Giles, tackle Paul Gruber, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, linebacker Derrick Brooks, fullback Mike Alstott, quarterback Doug Williams and safety John Lynch.

All of which got us to thinking: who should be next?

Cornerback Ronde Barber: A semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Barber appeared in more games (241) and made more starts (232) than any player in Bucs history during a stellar 16-year career. He ended his career with 215 consecutive starts, the longest active streak in the league at the time.

But Barber isn't remembered just for playing every week. It's for playing so well.

He is one of only two players, along with Charles Woodson, to record at least 40 interceptions and 20 quarterback sacks. His game-clinching INT of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb clinched the Bucs win in the NFC Championship game and ranks as the greatest play in team history.

Barber went to five Pro Bowls, was an All Pro three times, a member of the NFL's 2000s All Decade Team and is the Bucs' all-time interception leader.

Barber shouldn't just be in the Ring of Honor, he should be next.

Running back James Wilder: Going back to old school, Wilder was the most complete back the Bucs have ever have. He ranks first in Bucs history in rushing yards (5,957 yards) rushing attempts (1,575) and receptions (430). He carried 43 times in a game in 1984, which set an NFL record at the time. During that season he fell 16 yards shy of a league record for combined rushing and receiving yards in a season with 2,229. That same year, he set records for most carries (407) and touches (492) in a single season. No less than Lawrence Taylor said Wilder was one of the toughest runners he ever faced in his career.

Linebacker Hardy Nickerson: One of the first free agents who chose to play in Tampa Bay during a time when they were losing 10 or more games every season, Nickerson set the tone for Tony Dungy's defense. He went to five Pro Bowls, four with Tampa Bay, and was a member of the NFL's 1990's All-Decade team. He ranks third behind Derrick Brooks and Barber on the Bucs' all-time tackles list with 1,028.

Nickerson left the Bucs as a free agent after their NFC Championship loss to the Rams in the 1999 season. But his impact was felt for years to come.

Running back Warrick Dunn: One of the most popular players in Bucs' history, Dunn was part of the WD-40 backfield with Mike Alstott that provided Tampa Bay with one of the best running back tandems in NFL history. He ranks third on the team's all-time list for rushing yards (4,986) and attempts (1,256) and is tied with Doug Martin for second with 11 100-yard rushing games.

Dunn also set himself apart with his Homes for the Holidays charitable initiative, where he provided the down payment for a home for single-parent families. Dunn already is in the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor.

Linebacker Richard Wood: Nicknamed Batman, Wood was an integral part of the Bucs teams in the late 70's and 80's that went to the NFC Championship game against the Rams in the 1979 season. He ranks sixth on the team's all-time tackles list with 855. Wood averaged 136 tackles per season as a starter in his career.

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