TAMPA — Ronde Barber’s consistency was a hallmark of his 16-year career as a Pro Bowl cornerback.
A similar trend is developing with his candidacy for a bust in Canton, Ohio. For the sixth consecutive year, Barber, 47, is one of 28 modern era semifinalists for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A year ago, he was one of 15 finalists for possible enshrinement.
Few players defined their position the way Barber did as a slot cornerback who was equally adept at defending the run and the pass.
He checks all the boxes for enshrinement. He was a member of the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2000s at cornerback, he was named to five Pro Bowls and he three times was recognized as All-Pro. One of the most durable players in league history, Barber played in 241 games, starting 232. In fact, after a forgettable rookie season, Barber did not miss a game for 15 consecutive seasons.
Barber led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 2001. But it was his interception return for a touchdown that sealed the NFC Championship win over the Eagles that remains as the signature play in Bucs history. Barber also recorded 47 interceptions and 28 sacks, a combination rarely produced by any player regardless of position.
Players who were named semifinalists in their first year of eligibility are offensive linemen Jahri Evans and Joe Thomas, defensive lineman Dwight Freeney, linebacker James Harrison and cornerback Darrelle Revis, who played one season in Tampa Bay.
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