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Ronde Barber again a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist

The 22 modern-era semifinalists were announced Wednesday.
Ronde Barber's 92-yard interception return for a touchdown in the 2002 NFC title game remains the signature play in franchise history.
Ronde Barber's 92-yard interception return for a touchdown in the 2002 NFC title game remains the signature play in franchise history. [ JASON BEHNKEN | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Nov. 24

TAMPA — Former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber, widely deemed the most glaring Pro Football Hall of Fame omission from the franchise’s most historic defense, is one step closer to enshrinement.

Again.

For the fifth time, Barber — who pioneered the nickel-corner position in the Tampa-2 system — is a Hall of Fame semifinalist. The 22 modern-era semifinalists, which included seven players making the cut in their first year of eligibility, were announced Wednesday.

Two nights earlier, Barber’s old teammate — safety John Lynch — again publicly endorsed Barber while receiving his “Ring of Excellence” from the Hall of Fame during halftime of the Bucs’ 30-10 romp over the Giants.

“Your time is coming, buddy,” Lynch said to Barber, who watched from a Raymond James Stadium suite. “I told you that in Canton, and I believe it.”

An inductee into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor in 2019, Barber, 46, earned three first-team All-Pro nods and is one of two members of the 40/20 club (at least 40 interceptions, 20 or more quarterback sacks) alongside Charles Woodson (a 2021 Hall inductee).

Of course, Barber’s 92-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter of the 2002 NFC title game remains the signature play in franchise history.

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