Inside Rondé Barber’s Hall Speech, And The Bucs Almost Cutting Him

August 5th, 2023

It’s Rondé Barber’s day to be enshrined in Canton, as Joe wrote earlier. Barber had quite a road to get there, including almost getting cut by the Bucs.

SiriusXM NFL Radio has all kinds of Hall of Fame weekend coverage and a Barber interview was part of it.

When he makes his enshrinement speech this afternoon, Barber said he’ll have plenty of thank yous but also a message of work ethic.

“I had to work harder for my success,” Barber said.

Barber knew he wasn’t the greatest athlete in the NFL, or the biggest most powerful guy, and he acknolwedged being slow to get up to NFL standards at cornerback — and also slow to be recognized as the great player he was. The chip on Barber’s shoulder could be heard through the airwaves.

“Always been frustrated” is how former Bucs front office man and general manager Mark Dominik described Barber. Dominik was not the guy interviewing Barber, but he was chiming in on Barber’s career during a different show.

“We almost cut Rondé Barber,” Dominik said, recalling the early months after Barber was drafted in Round 3 of the 1997 NFL Draft. “I remember some of the meetings, because we had a couple of corners and Rondé was starting slow.

“And quite frankly, if he had been fifth- or sixth-round pick, I think we would have let him go and tried to put him on the practice squad. We did that with Al Harris, and we were wrong. Al Harris went on to have a great career, too. [Rondé] was so inconsistent.”

Harris, as ancient Bucs fans will remember, was a Bucs sixth-round pick at cornerback in 1997, same year as Barber. He never played a game for Tampa Bay but had a 13-year career with two Pro Bowl trips on his resume.

(Man, that regime was damn special when it came to drafting defensive backs.)

Dominik went on to praise Barber for his in-game instincts, which Dominik said were at a true all-time-great level. And he likened to Barber to Lou Gehrig, the historic New York Yankees ironman.

Dominik tried to explain how unimaginable it is for a full-time cornerback to play 200-plus consecutive games like Barber did.

20 Responses to “Inside Rondé Barber’s Hall Speech, And The Bucs Almost Cutting Him”

  1. Voice of Truth Says:

    We picked the correct twin. What an amazing journey for just an absolutely amazing player and person.

    Proud to call him a Buc for life

    Congratulations 🎉🍾🎊!!!!!!

  2. gp Says:

    “We almost cut Rondé Barber,” Dominik said, recalling the early months after Barber was drafted in Round 3 of the 1997 NFL Draft.

    How many self described draft experts on this site would have labeled Ronde as a wasted third round pick?

    As always, opinions are like ________, we all have one. Some are a little more ‘fragrant’ than others.

  3. Beej Says:

    Zyon could be the exact same scenario

  4. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Love Ronde Barber, we now have 4 hall of fame inductees from that defense, should be 5 with Semion Rice. 10 years straight that defense was in the top ten in the league. I watched every game they played and often there was no offense so the winning came from the defense. Those guys deserve every bit of recognition they get. Now it’s time for Ira to get Rice in the hall

  5. Eric Says:

    I remember Tom Kouran from channel 8 news one night demanding the Bucs cut Rondé immediately he was sure he was a wasted draft pick! Boy was he wrong!

  6. Scott Says:

    Thank goodness mark dominic isn’t a Gm anymore, makes way too many mistakes

  7. Pickgrin Says:

    Congrats Ronde! Well deserved…..

  8. Brandon Says:

    Yes. We cut Al Harris after 1998 training camp ended and we kept Floyd Young. Young was then absolutely abused in 98 season opener by a rookie named Randy Moss. I openly griped about us cutting Harris and keeping Young. I had a nasty habit of always being right back then.

  9. Cleanhouse Says:

    Congrats Ronde- absolute pleasure watching your career.

    This a is an uncommon take, but I believe Mike Alstott should be in the Hall of fame. He suffered because there is no hybrid type reward.

    Name me one player as unique and dominating and dependable as the A Train.
    My favorite Buc ever.

    Also Simeon Rice is clearly deserving too. Look at those sack numbers!

  10. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Such a high character man. And a true make a play leader. Just ask Philly😎

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    Barber wasn’t in any danger of being cut, that’s just fake news drama being spun.

    With that said, Barber is the prime example I use when idiots talk about guys being busts because they didn’t do anything their rookie years.

  12. Destinjohnny Says:

    Barber should be in the front office
    He gets it on every level

  13. Red86 Says:

    Ronde… you done great things in the Bucs uniforms, but you look great in gold. Thanks for the many memories and Congrats on your day #20!

  14. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    A couple things about Rondé’s enshrinement speech:

    • I never heard before the story about him having a scouting reputation as “uncoachable” when he came out of Virginia. Pretty incredible that he ended up with the opposite reputation–as a film and preparation junkie.

    • Much like John Lynch before him, he had the best speech today.

    • Did the NFL tell him not to say John Gruden’s name in public? He made a point of thanking Gruden–even gave a short anecdote about him–but only referred to him as “JG.”

    • I almost choked up when he made his mama cry.

  15. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Great hof acceptance speech Rondé. Here’s to ya man!

  16. Crickett Baker Says:

    It was a great speech. INCLUDING a “shout-out” to Ira whose pic was on the screen! Not 15 minutes of fame, Ira, but it was a great 30 seconds! Congratz on your help!

  17. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Barber is the best CB who ever played and it’s not that close. Not the best cover guy, but still darn good. Easily, and I mean by a mile, the best tackler who ever played CB. Arguably one of the best tackling defensive backs who ever played including most if not all but 5 or 6 safeties of all time. One that might be, only might, you know. After Lee Roy, the second best football player in Buccaneer history. Period.

  18. garro Says:

    Wish all that were coming from anyone but Dominik. Like maybe…I dont know…his coach?

    Dominik is full of spit on most things Bucs related.

    Go Bucs!

  19. garro Says:

    Congrats to Ronde, such a class act as a person.
    Congrats to his mom for raising him right and to Ira for his outstanding persistance in getting the knuckleheads in Canton to listen.

    Go Bucs!

  20. Tampa2ATL Says:

    Ancient? Dammit boy. First my kids, now you. Say it ain’t so, Joe!