Rondé Barber Talks 2008 Benching Decision

March 22nd, 2021

“You like that story, Jason? That’s as wacky as preferring Alterraun Verner over Darrelle Revis.”

Here’s a break from your ongoing Super Bowl celebration, or your free agency stress, or perhaps your frustration because you didn’t choose Big Storm beer over the weekend.

Legendary Buccaneers cornerback Rondé Barber, a Hall of Fame finalist for the first time in 2021, shared quite a story recently that was new to Joe.

Barber did an interview with the Rams’ official website to talk about his good friend and former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris taking over as the Rams’ defensive coordinator. Before Raheem was Bucs head coach (2009-2011), he was a defensive backs coach for Tampa Bay.

Barber explained that near the midpoint of the 2008 season, with the Bucs off to a great start, Morris sat down Barber to explain that he was going to be benched for rookie Aqib Talib. The starters at corner would now be Talib and Phillip Buchanon.

Here’s the quote from

… Then, around Week 6 or 7, according to Barber, Morris was given the uncomfortable responsibility of telling Barber they wanted to start Talib over him.

“It was almost like, ‘Are you (expletive) kidding me right now?’ It was one of those moments, … The way he handled it, it was – I didn’t feel like he was trying to tell me I wasn’t a good player anymore, but it was like, ‘Hey, this is what we’ve got to do.’ Obviously it was a head coach and (defensive coordinator) Monte Kiffin-type of decision, but they put it on him to tell me, who had been an All-Pro a number times and led the league in interceptions a couple of years before. I still felt like I was playing at a high level, and here I am getting ready to get replaced, and the guy delivering the news is probably my best friend in the coaching business.”

Even so, Barber said it was a “real” conversation that Morris handled in a mature way and without emotions overpowering the professional side of it. …

What a nugget of Bucs history right there; Chucky and Monte Kiffin planned to bench Barber in the midst of a playoff run.

It didn’t happen. And perhaps why it didn’t happen is a gem of Bucs history that needs to be unearthed one day.

Barber went on to lead the ’08 Bucs in interceptions (4), passes defensed (12) and he was second in solo tackles, nine more than Derrick Brooks and 34 less than Barrett Ruud.

23 Responses to “Rondé Barber Talks 2008 Benching Decision”

  1. lokog Says:

    remember way back when ronde(team effort) closed the vet down for good.

  2. SlyPirate Says:

    You could make the argument Barber is the greatest Buc of all time.

    Barber is the only player with more than 45 interceptions and 25 sacks.

    That’s crazy when you consider the NFL has been around for 101 years (1920)!

  3. danr Says:

    keep in mind they only recently started tracking sacks.

    (recently when compared to the 101 years you referenced)

  4. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Gruden told Morris to tell Barber that he was going to be benched, then he wasn’t benched? This doesn’t add up.

  5. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    I think ol’ clown shoes Ruud let the league in tackles from behind.

  6. Joe in Michigan Says:

    There did seem to be some dysfunction with the Bucs in the Gruden years, and now we’re seeing it in Las Vegas.

  7. Buc50 Says:

    Talib was talented though so it wasn’t like he was being replaced with a scrub.

  8. PSL Bob Says:

    Whoh!!! Barrett Ruud. Hadn’t thought of him for a while. Such high expectations there, but never panned out.

  9. BA4President Says:

    I agree Joe in Michigan, doesn’t add up

  10. ModHairKen Says:

    Raheem did ZERO to earn a HC job.

  11. youngbucs Says:

    Barber was a beast he also played great later on at safety.

  12. Bucfanforever Says:

    They tried this with Jameis, benching him for Fitzpatrick, and Jameis went on to lead the league in interceptions too.

  13. Bucs Guy Says:

    Gruden and Monte were fired after the 2008 season. OK technically Monte resigned.

    Raheem got his head coaching job through timing. Glazers were cash strapped over the ManU deal and $ they still owed Gruden. They needed a n inexpensive coach = young, inexperienced head coach. Hello Raheem.

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    They could have been lighting a fire under his butt. If so, it worked.

  15. sincethebeginning Says:

    LOVE those #20 stories, keep them coming!

    And Ruud was a bit of a beast for a while. Don’t sell that cat short.

  16. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Barrett Ruud, 6 years a Buc, total of 19 tackles for loss
    Devon White, 2 years a Buc, total of 19 tackles for loss

  17. LongSeason Says:

    Bench Barber, they said.
    How many more years and how many straight games did he start after that, again?
    This proves Chucky was insane.
    Ronde, the Hall awaits.

  18. orlbucfan Says:

    Chucky was and is an overrated jackazz.

  19. kyle Says:

    sly pirate… its 55 all day… you betta check yo sheet..haha

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    Gruden hated everyone that reminded him of Dungy – wanted them all gone. Ronde and Brooks only stuck around because they kept their mouths shut.

  21. unbelievable Says:

    Wild story, def never heard that before.

    Ronde is a bad @ss. Greatest Buc of all time! (along with Mr. Brooks)

    Get this man into the Hall Ira! He revolutionized the CB position! No one else has this man’s stats!

  22. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    You like that story, Jason? That’s as wacky as preferring Alterraun Verner over Darrelle Revis.

    Trading for a guy 120 days removed from a major knee injury.
    Whom you haven’t even seen practice – was dump anyway.

  23. Chris Says:

    Remember Rice? Simeon that is, now that man was a beast on the field..That group was the best defense ever!!