Yesterday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Ronde Barber decided to call it a career after 16 NFL seasons. Barber was a five-time Pro Bowler and is known as the only guy in NFL history to have over 40 career interceptions (47) and 20 career sacks (28). Incredibly enough, he did it all while playing with the Bucs.
While Barber was cited telling ESPN that this offseason’s additions for Tampa Bay had nothing to do with his retirement, one may wonder whether or not it played even the slightest part in his decision. The Bucs added former San Francisco 49ers safety DaShon Goldson and former New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis to their franchise over the past couple of months. With two perennial Pro Bowl players entering the secondary, one had to wonder just what the role of Barber would have been in 2013.
Barber told ESPN that he is such a competitor that he is confident he could have found a role on the team and a place to contribute consistently, even though his playing time would have been significantly lower than it was last year. He said that the “timing was right,” and that he had been thinking about it for a while. Barber even said that he made his final decision over a month ago, but decided yesterday was the right moment to make the announcement.
Whatever the real reason may be, it is interesting to speculate because of the huge splash the Bucs have made with Revis and Goldson. More importantly though, Barber deserves to retire whenever he feels necessary. Few players can say they were as versatile as Barber was throughout his 16 years, and he should find himself on the Hall of Fame ballot before too long.