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Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams

Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
Published Jul. 21, 2017

As part of our Bucs badass jamboree, sports columnist Martin Fennelly spoke with former Bucs Pro Bowl cornerback Ronde Barber, who played all 16 of his NFL seasons in Tampa Bay and was part of the Bucs' Super Bowl championship team in 2002, a decidedly BA bunch. Barber shared his thoughts on those Bucs and being "badass."

"We were generally nice guys. But when it came to Sunday, we turned into (jerks). Mike T. (former Bucs secondary coach and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin) said it best: 'You've got to be an angry worker.'

"It's harder to get those guys now. I don't know, man. It's just different how guys approach the game. Money probably has something to do with it. These kids are stars from the outset, whether they've done anything or not. It's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport.

RELATED: Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs

"Our nice guy on defense was a badass. (Former Bucs linebacker) Hardy Nickerson was the perfect gentleman away from football, but on the field, the guy was scary. How many times did he hurl spittle on someone? When I think of playing angry, I think of Hardware.

"Nobody like that jumps out on today's Bucs. They're not there. I would say the quarterback (Jameis Winston) fits the mold. He is clearly that guy, the leader.

"But you see an attitude emerging, especially at linebacker. Those two guys, Lavonte (David) and Kwon (Alexander) have to be able to drive the bus, especially Kwon, because he has so much energy. If he can consistently be that guy, it will raise the defense. I love Gerald (McCoy), but for a defensive tackle to drive a team, he has to have a huge personality. I mean like the personality of (Warren) Sapp or a John Randle.

Times 2012

No one did a game-day staredown quite like Ronde Barber.

Times 2012

No one did a game-day staredown quite like Ronde Barber.

"I was an angry worker. I had a large chip on my shoulder, as you well know. On Sunday, John Lynch talked (trash). Nicest guy in the world until Sunday. Then he ran around and imposed his will on people. That's the best way to put it. A badass is someone who in any situation says he's going to impose his will on you. A badass team tries to impose its will on other teams. It's like those biker gangs who walk out of dive bars. You see them come out and you think, 'Man, I'm not messing with that crew.'

"Winning. You've got to win. You're not badass if you don't win.

"Sapp was one because he was overly talented and played with a bravado and an energy that was unmatched. He could talk the game and back it up. You knew what you were getting with him. He showed himself to opponents, like putting his helmet down and spinning it in front of the other team. You knew you were going to have to deal with him, That's badass.

MEDIA'S PICK: Baddest of them all? Steelers LB James Harrison.

"Tom (Brady) is the perfect example of a guy you might not think of like that, but he was a bad dude. He influenced how his teammates played, their drive. That makes him a badass.

"Randy Moss was one. Cris Carter was. (Brett) Favre was a badass. Steve Smith, too. You didn't want to get Steve angry. Barry Sanders was the ultimate.

"Think of how hard it is to assemble a team filled with guys like that. But we did. And Jon Gruden was a badass coach, the way he worked toward perfection. Tony Dungy was, too. Tony was badass, which tells you you don't have to be a loud, obnoxious guy.

Times 2008

Jon Gruden certainly fit the mold of a badass coach.

Times 2008

Jon Gruden certainly fit the mold of a badass coach.

"Lynch used to say this, and it typified the way we played on defense. 'To be a badass, one way or another, you've got to intimidate.' No matter how we played, win or lose, we were going to be a physical team, make the other team look at film and say, 'Damn, they're physical, and damn, they play fast.'

"The film looked like it was sped up all the time. And it wasn't. We just never stopped. We intimidated people before they ever got on the field. That's badass."

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