Ronde Barber Puts The Heat Behind Him

July 31st, 2009

So Bucs legend Ronde Barber decided to open up to the media after a long silence, sitting down with St. Pete Times columnist Gary Shelton for a fireside chat.

Joe’s eyes opened wide when Barber talked about feeling major heat at One Buc Place during his horrendous start last season, including an apparent ripping from Raheem The Dream.

The truth is, however, a cornerback’s mistakes happen in front of everyone. And after Barber’s start, there was a lot of criticism outside the building. A lot of it inside, too.

“It was addressed in the building,” Barber said. “I went through more than people care to admit in here. (The coaches) see the same things you guys talk about. ‘He’s 33 (at the time). He’s in his 12th year. He can’t possibly be the same guy he was five or six years ago.’ I faced more doubt than I’ve ever faced in my life. And it was true. I’m not running away from it. I’m not scared to say it. I know when I struggle. Unfortunately, in my position, everyone knows when I struggle.”

Morris admits there were times the team wondered, too. There was a time when he gave a presentation to the team about finishing strong. It was not kind to Barber.

“How many 33-year-old corners do you know?” Morris said. “Yes, there were doubts.”

Not often do you have a proud veteran like Barber talk about getting broiled by his coaches — and still be on the same team after a massive purge of fellow veterans.

Joe recalls some fans and media members taking heat last year — THE PESSIMIST included — for constantly roasting Barber for his horrendous play early in the season. It seems Ronde and his coaches were right there with them.

Like Barber, Joe is reasonably confident Barber can bounce back and squeeze one more good year out of his 34-year-old body. The Bucs are desperate for that to happen. Tampa Bay’s depth at corner is frightening.

Maybe Jermaine Phillips can learn a new position?

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