USA Today: Buccaneers great Ronde Barber calls it a career
Mike Garafolo, USA TODAY Sports
After 16 NFL seasons, five Pro Bowl selections, a Super Bowl title and 47 career interceptions, Ronde Barber has decided to call it a career.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback-turned-safety will retire Wednesday, according to his broadcast and marketing agent, Mark Lepselter, president of Maxx Sports and Entertainment. Lepselter added that Ronde "is at peace with his decision."
"I've had a better run than I ever could've dreamed of having," Barber said earlier in the day.
It's an end to what many think will wind up being a Hall of Fame career that began when he was drafted in the third round in 1997 — one round later than his twin brother Tiki, who was selected by the New York Giants.
"No doubt about it, Ronde's a Hall of Famer,'' Barber's former Tampa Bay Bucs teammate Derrick Brooks told USA TODAY Sports. "If anyone wants to listen, I'd make a case for him. He's transcended time and his size at that position and what he's been able to do from the cornerback position (28 sacks, 47 interceptions) whether from the slot or outside."
Barber is the only player in league history with 40 or more interceptions and 20 or more sacks. Barber's 14 non-offensive touchdowns rank him fourth on the all-time list behind Deion Sanders (19), Devin Hester (18) and Rod Woodson (17).
"I wish him well. And I consider it an extreme honor to have had the opportunity to play with Ronde," Brooks added. "Ronde's the type when he made that decision that he was done, I don't see anyone changing his mind to think otherwise. I talked to him a few times about playing golf the last few weeks. Now he has no excuses."
Barber, 38, is walking away despite the Bucs' being open to his return in 2013. The team signed safety Dashon Goldson as a free agent and acquired cornerback Darrelle Revis in a trade with the New York Jets.
Barber officially made the move from corner to safety before last season and had four interceptions, including one he returned 78 yards for a touchdown in a blowout victory against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Barber's most famous interception return for a touchdown, though, was his 92-yarder to seal the NFC Championship Game victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in January 2003. The Bucs went on to beat the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.
As for the future, Lepselter said, "I fully expect Ronde to be in NFL broadcasting this season," but he did not specify a role or which network, saying those details will be provided in the coming days.