With all of the free agent talk and coaching search buzz surrounding Tampa at the moment, one thing that is getting lost in the shuffle is the progress of Ronde Barber who is nearly fully healed from a arm fracture he suffered in the Bucs season finale.
Barber told the Tampa Bay Times that despite his progress, he’s still not at all sure if he wants to return for his 16th season in a Buccaeers uniform.
“I’m not leaning one way or the other,” Barber said. “I’m not allowing myself to lean one way or the other. I’m pretty sure where I stand, but I haven’t allowed myself to commit.”
Bucs fans will have to wait patiently for Barber’s decision on whether to retire or return to the gridiron but don’t expect a Peyton Manning-esque slop fest of a divorce.
Barber has stated in the past that his decision will be effected by Raheem Morris’ future with the team and as we all know now, there isn’t one in Tampa for Morris. But with the current situation at cornerback, Barber may be more welcome then some would think.
Since being drafted in 1997 by the Bucs in the third round, Barber has become a staple of not only the defense but of the entire franchise. He helped win a Super Bowl in 2002 and he was instrumental in reviving the franchise with Tony Dungy, Warren Sapp, John Lynch and others.
He made $4 million last year and is currently an unrestricted free agent. If he doesn’t return to the Bucs but does decide to give it another go, his most likely landing spot is in Washington where he can be reunited with Morris and get paid by Daniel Snyder who notoriously lives to overpay for over the hill veterans.
“Things have to play themselves out like they did last year. We’ll have a meeting of the minds like we did last year and if I fit in, we’ll go from there.”