TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Three-time All-Pro Ronde Barber is retiring after a 16-year career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that included a Super Bowl title and five Pro Bowl appearances.
The Bucs announced Wednesday night that the 38-year-old twin brother of former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber will not return to play on a defense overhauled since the end of last season. Tampa Bay acquired Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson and second-round draft pick Johnthan Banks for its secondary.
The retirement was first reported by Fox Sports.com, who quoted Barber as saying: “I’ve had a better run than I ever could’ve dreamed of having.”
Tiki Barber, who retired from the Giants after the 2006 season, had a post on his Twitter account that read: “Congrats & happy for my twin, Ronde, who’s hanging up the cleats!”
Ronde Barber played cornerback for 15 seasons before moving to safety last year. He played his entire career with the Bucs and is the franchise leader in interceptions with 47. He also scored eight touchdowns and had 28 sacks in 241 games.
“Ronde is synonymous with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, establishing himself as one of our franchise’s iconic players over a 16-year, Hall of Fame-worthy career,” Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement. “When anyone thinks of Ronde, they think of a true professional and leader. He approached every day the same, giving everything he had to make himself and his teammates the best they could be. We will miss him.”
Barber was a third-round pick out of Virginia is 1997 and struggled early in his career, appearing in just one game as a rookie. He finished with a stretch of 215 consecutive starts, tied for the sixth-longest streak in NFL history.
A team captain for the past nine years, Barber made the transition from cornerback to safety in 2012, Tampa Bay’s first season under coach Greg Schiano.
Schiano’s top priority this offseason was revamping a secondary that nearly set a league record for most yards passing allowed in a season.
The Bucs began reshaping the defense with the signing of Goldson, an All-Pro safety last season in San Francisco, to a five-year, $41.25 million deal in free agency. Last month, the team traded the 13th overall pick in the draft to the New York Jets in exchange for Revis, a three-time All Pro cornerback who also got a new six-year, $96 million contract.
With veteran Eric Wright returning and last year’s No. 1 draft pick Mark Barron entering his second season at safety, that left little room for Barber in Tampa Bay’s plans — especially after Banks was selected in the second round of the draft to compete with Wright for a starting job.
Barber is the only player in NFL history with 40-plus interceptions and 25 or more sacks. He returned eight picks for regular-season touchdowns and clinched Tampa Bay’s victory over Philadelphia in the 2002 NFC championship game with a 92-yard return for a TD off Donovan McNabb.