Door Appears To Be Closing On Ronde BarberApril 29th, 2013
When Bucs fans began rattling off options at cornerback in 2013, it appeared positive.
Obviously, there are Darrelle Revis and second-round pick Johnthan Banks, plus returning starter Eric Wright and second-year guy Leonard Johnson, the corps of corners looked solid.
Oh, and then there was the wild card factor of Ronde Barber’s potential return.
But Woody Cummings of The Tampa Tribune came out with sobering news this morning while appearing with “The Commish,” Justin Pawlowski, of WHFS-FM. In short, Cummings noted that Barber’s days as a corner are over and if he returns, he will certainly be a backup safety.
Justin Pawlowski: I was pretty good in math back in high school and through college. My math and my addition is still here. Let’s see, I’ve got Darrelle Revis, I’ve got Johnthan Banks, I’ve got Eric Wright at corner. Where does Ronde Barber fit in to this mix?
Woody Cummings: Ronde Barber is a safety now and maybe not even a nickel safety but a dime safety. A lot depends on how Ahmad Black shakes out this season and if he can stay on the field and avoid trouble. And also you have Cody Grimm coming back. Not sure what they think of Cody Grimm at this point, I’m not sure what they think of Cody, if he’s just anything more than a fourth down player. Ronde Barber is not going to be a corner for this team; he’s going to be a safety. He would be a depth piece if he comes back.
Proof is in the pudding. A year ago, they couldn’t have been any more desperate at cornerback than they were at some point last year and they didn’t move Ronde. Now part of that may have been they didn’t feel that Ahmad Black was good enough there or maybe not sharp enough. I cannot see that move happening [Barber moving to corner]. I’ve been told by enough people in the organization that he is now a safety ,and if he is going to play for [the Bucs] he will be a safety and my guess he plays again, he will be a backup safety.
Pawlowski: OK, either way, if he comes back as a corner he’s the fourth and if he comes back as a safety he’s the third or fourth safety. Is Ronde going to come back and sit on the bench?
Cummings: I don’t know. I wish I knew, I assume we will find out here very shortly, but I don’t know. He has drug this out quite a ways. I don’t have an answer to it. I have said this before, “If I am Ronde Barber, I am coming back with this team even as a backup for no reason other than I want another shot at the playoffs, I want another shot at a Super Bowl.” I think this team is certainly good enough to make the playoffs and possibly even win their division. They are good enough to go a round or two in the playoffs and if you get in the playoffs, anything can happen.
Look, if he can come back as a backup, he might be able to string out his career a year or two. Maybe he could be part of another Super Bowl team. I don’t think he would have a problem with that but maybe Ronde is looking at it differently. Maybe he is looking at being a starter and nothing else. Maybe he doesn’t feel the grind and all the time put in physically to prepare for a season, especially at his age, is worth it, if he is not starting on Sundays.
But you know, the other thing you have to think about if you are Ronde is injuries always happen. People always go down. You could start the season as a backup but end it playing 12 or 14 games as a starter.
My gut tells me he is coming back but I just don’t know to be honest with you.
But the walls are closing in. The Bucs big time beefed up their secondary. Joe has no issue with this. The Bucs, without any definitive word from Barber, had to proceed as if Barber was gone. To do otherwise would have been irresponsible.