He’s been a Buccaneer through three different coaching regimes and Ronde Barber is planning on making it a fourth deciding to forego retirement to play a 16th season with the Bucs.
Barber has a streak going, having played in nearly 200 consecutive games, the most by any Buccaneer and the most by a defensive back in NFL history. He’s looking to add to that streak, telling the Buccaneers today that he’ll be returning to the team. The Bucs were actually the ones to extend a hand first, telling the veteran that if he wants to come back to Tampa, he doesn’t even need a key, the door was wide open.
Ronde waltzed right in and will be entering his fourth different house in terms of a head coach. With Tampa thin at cornerback, Barber will not only add depth and leadership, but he’ll provide continuity for this young team in flux.
Most of the guys on the team have had only one NFL head coach, Raheem Morris. For the first time in their professional careers, they are having to go through the traumatic, band-aid ripping off of a hairy arm experience of moving into a new scheme and a new system.
Having Barber back means that there is a familiar veteran face to lean on and confide in during this time. The growing process is starting all over again but Baber will be a calming voice for the young players and the transition won’t be as abrupt or awkward.
Not to say the Greg Schiano isn’t going to be the guy in the locker room, but what barber provides is on a level even Schiano can’t get to. He hasn’t played with these guys, he isn’t as experienced as Barber and he’s brand new to the NFL. Not only will Barber be able to help smooth the transition on the players end, but he will be a guy that Schiano can go to to learn how things have functioned in Tampa and what does and doesn’t work.
After all, barber has played under three very different head coaches and can pool the knowledge of Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden and even Raheem Morris’ fire and will into one mind in Schiano.
Plus, the fans love Barber and have been on pins and needles abut his decision. No one wanted to see Barber be jarred into retirement in a different uniform ala John Lynch and Warren Sapp.
For the first time since Lee Roy Selmon, Bucs fans can watch one of their own, a legend in Tampa, ride into the sunset wearing Pewter.
If nothing else, Barber’s return gives us all continuity and the end of his career that we all wanted to see: Ronde Barber tipping the cap to Bucs fans in that gorgeous Buccaneers red.