After sixteen seasons in Tampa Bay, Ronde Barber has officially hung up his cleats for the final time as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The five time pro bowl cornerback drafted in the third round of the 1997 NFL draft spoke at length thanking everyone involved in his hall of fame career.
“I came up here not knowing what to say. But I think the best way to end it is say I had fun” said Barber. “I love football. I’ll always love football, but football is just what I did. It’s not who I am and I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to do what’s next.”
In a 30 minute emotional press conference held at One Buccaneer Place, Barber said he made the decision about a month ago as was “pretty certain” at the time that it was the right decision. “I told em (Buccaneers) I was probably good either way. That’s probably not the answer I should have given. If I would have said I want to play, than I probably would have been playing. But when I knew it was either way, I knew I was done” said Barber.
Barber talked of his twin brother, Tiki, who played running back for the Giants. Ronde credited Tiki Barber for being his greatest motivation and an inspiration for his career.
“I almost wanted him to succeed more than I wanted myself to succeed” said Barber. “I love him. I’m a great football player because he was a great football player. I think he would say the same about me.”
Barber said his decision was not influenced by the moves the Buccaneers have made this past offseason. Barber simply saying it was his time to go home.
“I fought off competition for years, so it’s not about that. This is what I was supposed to do, and I’m ready to be home.”
The 38-year-old Ronde Barber played cornerback for 15 seasons before moving to safety last year. He played his entire career with Tampa Bay, was selected to the Pro Bowl five times and is the franchise leader in interceptions with 47. He also scored eight touchdowns and had 28 sacks in 241 games.