The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Wednesday that they have agreed to terms with veteran cornerback Ronde Barber on a one-year contract. Terms were not disclosed, according to the team’s press release. However, Barber earned $4 million for the 2011 NFL season.
Barber spent his entire 15-year career with the Buccaneers, and the franchise’s record book has his name written throughout the pages, as well as the NFL’s.
The Virginia native currently holds the longest active streak for starts in the NFL with 199, as he started every game for the Buccaneers since Week 10 of the 1999 campaign. Barber’s consecutive starts streak is also the longest by a cornerback in NFL history, while his 224 consecutive games played is tied for the second-longest streak by a defensive player in the NFL since 1970.
Barber has 43 career interceptions and 27 career sacks, making him the only player in NFL history to have 40 or more interceptions and 25 or more sacks in a career. In addition, the five-time Pro Bowler’s 11 touchdowns on fumble/interception returns ranks fifth in NFL history and is the only defensive back in the NFL, since the merger (1970), to start each of his team’s games for 12 consecutive seasons.
“I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be back for my 16th season as a Buccaneer,” said Barber. “Coach Schiano, Mark Dominik, and the Glazer family have been terrific throughout this process. I’m really excited about the direction of the team, the moves we’ve made, and I can’t wait to get back to work.”
Barber’s dedication to keep in shape is beyond words. For the past 15 years, Barber has faced countless receivers that were faster, bigger and stronger, but managed to stay competitive and be wise to overcome all odds. Other than Baltimore Ravens, linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, Barber has been that solid rock one franchise (the Bucs) could depend on, since being drafted.
If it was not for former Buccaneer great linebacker Derrick Brooks, Barber could make an argument for being the greatest Buccaneer of all-time. Barber’s 1,337 tackles rank second in team history behind Brooks (1,715).
The 5-10, 184-pound cornerback finished fourth on the team for tackles with 77, including five tackles for loss, three interceptions, 11 passes defensed, one sack, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble in 2011.
Barber’s numbers are outstanding, and probably will never be matched by a player who will wear the pewter, red, black and white. Moreover, Barber’s, the third round selection (66th-overall) from the 1997 NFL Draft, impact is unspeakable and he is what the Buccaneers need as the team rebuilds – making Barber the great Buccaneer, currently.