TAMPA — As the Buccaneers begin to rebuild in rebuilding mode, the new regime has a lot of work ahead of them and a lot of crucial decisions to make. One of those decisions is what to do with Ronde Barber, the longest tenured Buccaneer on roster.
It’s no secret that Barber is in the twilight of his Hall of Fame career, but the question is will he finish it in the place that career not only started, but was made?
If history has anything to say then the answer is a resounding ‘No’.
Just about every legendary player to have played the game of football has not finished with the team they will represent in the Hall of Fame. Jerry Rice finished in Seattle, Joe Montana finished in Kansas City, Emmitt Smith in Arizona and Jonny Unitas in San Diego. All of these legendary careers ended in uniforms other then ones the memories were made in.
That could be the case with Ronde Barber who very well could end his illustrious career with someone like the Washington Redskins.
If you need more diversity among disanalogies for Barber leaving, look no further then how the Glazer’s gracefully parted ways with the players that made them the owners of a legitimate franchise.
When the last regime change occurred, the Glazer’s cleaned house cutting almost all the veterans loose. One of these guys was Derrick Brooks who’s career is not too far off from Barber’s in Tampa. Brooks played his whole career with the Buccaneers and was a key piece of one of the best defenses in NFL history in 2002. But when the Buccaneers wanted to switch up the regime, Brooks wasn’t in the right age bracket and was cut — just like that.
Barber was kept around when Raheem Morris took over for Jon Gruden in 2009 but as we change up coaches less then four years later, Barber might be on the opposite end of the situation.
Given the utter lack of depth and talent at the corner position Barber may yet again be salvaged but the Glazer’s want to facelift this team from what Raheem Morris represented and Ronde Barber was one of his strongest supporters. This in combination with his age might mean the end of Barber in Tampa.
How fitting that his career in Tampa ended with a broken arm after all those consecutive starts — he’s wounded inside and out.
It would honestly be one of the biggest tragedies in Buccaneers history. It’s rare to have a player finish his career with the team he made it with but why is that a logical reason to not allow Barber to be one of the few?
Sapp. Dunn. Lynch. All of them built this franchise, all of them retired and are now more invested in other franchises or outlets. There is no real history with the Buccaneers like there is with Green Bay or other franchises because they seem to close doors with their legends. Warrick Dunn has a minority ownership in the Atlanta Falcons, Lynch is almost equally remembered in Denver as he is in Tampa and Sapp has done Dancing With the Stars.
These players don’t denounce their time with the Buccaneers but for all the sweat and blood they gave they aren’t nearly involved as they should or could be. To have this happen to Barber wouldn’t be a surprise but it would officially mean the Buccaneers are starting over with basically a brand new franchise.
Barber’s contract is up and he’s an unrestricted free agent and the chances are the Glazer’s won’t offer him a new deal or if they do it will be an insultingly low offer for most likely another year.
The most likely landing spot for Barber is in Washington where he can be reunited with Raheem Morris and be the next veteran in line for Daniel Snyder’s over paying of over the hill players.
It’s really tough to swallow yet another Buccaneer who made the Galzer’s and this franchise respectable be simply flicked off to the side with a half hearted “Thank you”.
The cliche is “we’ll always have the memories” but when you gave as much as Barber did there should be a helluva lot more then a pat on the back and a hand shake.