December 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Ronde Barber (20) against the Philadelphia Eagles prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
For quite some time, the New Orleans Saints have been terroized by cornerback Ronde Barber of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the course of a career that may land him in the Hall of Fame.
Today, Barber hung up the cleats.
The news was first broke by Fox’s Jay Glazer:
Saints fans should be very familiar with Barber. He played in 241 games with the Buccaneers and failed to miss a game in 15 seasons. In those impressive years he racked up 47 interceptions and 28 sacks—making him the only defensive back in NFL history to join the 40/20 club.
Barber’s retirement should not come as a surprise to many. He had said in the past he would not play anywhere else but Tampa Bay, and clearly the team was ready to move on from him in free agency thanks to the additions of Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson and Johnathan Banks via the 2013 NFL draft.
In a sense the announcement is great news for Saints fans. After all, Barber ranked as the No. 10 overall safety in the NFL last season despite his age according to ProFootballFocus (subscription required). Of course, it doesn’t help the Buccaneers still potentially have the best safety combo in the NFL thanks to Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron.
At the end of the day, it’s always a relief to see a great rival hang up the cleats. In this scenario, Saints fans should salute Barber. He was a thorn in the side for sure, but a class act and a rare player headed to Canton.