Tiki: Ronde Wants To PlayMarch 8th, 2013
One of the great mysteries of the Bucs’ offseason has been solved. Whether Ronde Barber wanted to keep playing was unknown to Bucs fans and media, but twin brother Tiki Barber says Ronde wants to play.
Ronde and Tiki Barber are close. Anyone who’s listened to Ronde interviewed over the years has heard him talk about how he and Tiki are always communicating and supporting each other. Joe even remembers Ronde saying recently how he never would have considered attending a different college than his brother.
So Joe considers Tiki Barber the best source on Ronde outside of Ronde himself.
Yesterday, Tiki took to the 98.7 FM airwaves to chat with hosts Booger McFarland and Rich Herrera, and Tiki revaled Ronde’s desire to suit up in September for his 17th NFL season.
Booger McFarland: What’s your gut feeling on, No. 1, if Tampa is going to want him back, and No. 2, does he really want to continue playing?
Tiki Barber: You know, he does. And there’s been some rhetoric around his motivation. “He’s too beat up; he can’t do it anymore.” But I’ve talked to him multiple times over the last month and a half and it’s been the same. He’s told me this is the best he’s felt after a season in many years. Obviously, [last year] he broke his forearm at the end of the year and there was some question on whether he would come back or Mark Dominik would want him back with the new coaching staff. But his veteran presence has been so valuable to that secondary. And we know, Booger, you know, and your fans know, there’s a bunch of knuckleheads, mainly because of youth on that secondary. They need a veteran presence, so I think there is a desire to have Ronde back.
Joe’s ecstatic that Barber wants to return. Now the big question is whether the Bucs will pay Barber what he might be seeking, and is the New Schaino Order willing to give Barber a role on the Bucs that suits him. Many believe Mark Barron is more suited for free safety, Barber’s position.
Tiki went on to say he believes Ronde adjusted well to safety and the “field general role suited him.” Tiki also said Ronde has been exploring opportunities outside football and the Bucs planned to meet with Ronde yesterday to discuss his future with the team.
On a personal level, Tiki said he’s been encouraging Ronde to retire.
First, Joe finds the “knuckleheads” line from Tiki telling. Joe wonders whether that covers only the Adderrall Twins, Eric Wright and Aqib Talib, or others.