“Silenced Forever”

August 6th, 2023

BILL CURRIE FORD IS OPEN DAILY! Shop now online and don’t forget to request the Ira Kaufman Discount. Nationwide lifetime warranty on new vehicles.


What a weekend.

Rondé Barber’s enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame brought back vivid memories of a Buc defense that ranks among the best in the NFL’s 103-year history. Friday night’s gold jacket ceremony proved uncommonly emotional for Barber, whose goal as a professional was to establish himself as an uncommon player.

83-year-old Monte Kiffin was among the many iconic Bucs names partying in Canton with Rondé Barber last night..

On Saturday, I had the privilege of sitting in the loud and passionate Buc section of the crowd for Barber’s 14-minute speech. Fourteen minutes to acknowledge a 16-year career hardly seems fair, but Barber touched all the bases, including a much-appreciated shoutout to his Hall of Fame advocate among the selectors.

A few hours later, at a tony vineyard in Canton, more than 400 guests gathered to celebrate No. 20, one of only two dozen cornerbacks honored with a gold jacket.

They came from far and wide, young and old, to show their respect and love for Barber, who joined Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch in Canton off that iconic defense.

The architects of the that unit, Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin, were in the house, along with Lynch, Brooks and Sapp. Brad Johnson also represented the 2002 championship team, along with Shelton Quarles, Ryan Nece, Joe Jurevicius, Brian Kelly and Mike Alstott.

As GM of the 49ers, Lynch must have been tempted to fly back to California for training camp after the induction. Instead, he decided to soak up as much face time with Barber and his former teammates as possible.

Bucs co-owner Joel Glazer was all smiles on Saturday.

Joel Glazer couldn’t stop smiling during the enshrinement ceremony and the subsequent party. Barber joined the Bucs in 1997, only two years after the family purchased the franchise. Like Brooks, Barber played his entire career in Tampa and still has close ties to the organization.

GM Jason Licht and his front-office crew were out in force, enjoying a performance by CeeLo Green under the Canton stars. You knew Bruce Arians and his wife, Christine, who served as babysitters for the Barber twins in the late 1970s, weren’t going to miss a chance to celebrate Ronde’s unforgettable weekend.

Tampa Bay’s former executive team, led by Rich McKay, Tim Ruskell and John Idzik, were also on hand. That’s the group that scouted and drafted Sapp, Brooks and Barber within a three-year span. As Falcons president, McKay walked in with Atlanta owner Arthur Blank. Barber and Blank forged a strong relationship while participating in Blank’s charitable endeavors at his ranch in Montana.

Flowing Respect

Barber’s Hall of Fame bust was prominently on display as party goers climbed over ropes to get a picture with the guest of honor. As the evening went on, there was a nagging sense that the franchise’s torrid Hall of Fame run might be on hold for awhile.

Although Buc fans are all in on Simeon Rice, the reality is he has a difficult road to Canton. Rice has been eligible for the Hall since 2013 — the year Sapp was inducted — but he has never made the list of 15 finalists. Players must wait five years after their retirement to be considered, so Mike Evans is a long way away from discussion.

Aaron Donald delivered his respect.

Barber showed me a video text sent Saturday morning by Rams coach Sean McVay, a Buc offensive assistant under Jon Gruden in 2008. McVay congratulated Barber for achieving pro football’s ultimate individual honor, then turned the phone over to the guy sitting next to him — a stud by the name of Aaron Donald.

Five years after Donald’s retirement, he will surely join Barber in Canton. You could tell the respect Donald has for Barber’s extraordinary career and it was nice to see the current generation saluting a fellow trailblazer.

McVay’s defensive coordinator flew into Canton for the induction ceremony. Raheem Morris, who was promoted from Bucs secondary coach to head coach in 2009, wasn’t going to miss a chance to witness Barber’s crowning moment.

Mike Tomlin, who coached the Buc secondary from 2001-05, placed the gold jacket across Barber’s shoulders at a Friday night ceremony in downtown Canton attended by more then 4,000 guests. Tomlin sat proudly at a table with Barber’s wife, Claudia, and their daughters, Yammile Rose and Justyce Rosina,

It was Tomlin who told me that Barber’s streak of 215 consecutive starts at cornerback will never be broken. He compared Barber’s historic durability to Cal Ripken and said it exemplified Barber’s legendary toughness.

In his speech, Barber focused on the unbreakable bond he shares with his identical twin. If you delve into Tiki Barber’s stellar career with the Giants, you could also make a compelling case for him as a credible candidate for Canton.

Barber deserves all the plaudits coming his way. He didn’t have ideal size or speed for the position, but his preparation and drive to excel were unparalleled. He created a template for success all of the current Buccaneers should try to emulate.

For Brett Favre, Barber is “the best nickel back this game has ever seen.”

The skeptics who casually dismissed Barber as a “system corner” have been silenced forever. Their derision drove Barber to play angry and, ultimately, to play great.

His career was rare. It was singular. And yes, it was exceedingly uncommon.

37 Responses to ““Silenced Forever””

  1. EternalSon Says:

    Barber is one of the Best Bucs of all time.

    Standard bearer, class act, and proud he played for us.

    Go Bucs!!

  2. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    Ira, thank you for your hard work and dedication for never giving up on getting Barber his time in Canton. There is nobody more deserving than him to get this honor.

  3. PSL Bob Says:

    Outstanding tribute Ira! Thanks for your extraordinary effort in shepherding Ronde”s nomination through the enshrinement process. Well done sir!

  4. Lt. Dan Says:

    Mr. Kaufman,

    A sincere thank you from myself and I’m sure Buccaneers fans everywhere for your efforts to get Mr. Barber into the National Football Hall of Fame. He is deserving, as are all of the past Buccaneers players that you lobbied for. My guess is that right now you are Tampa’s favorite son. Job well done sir.

  5. JA Says:

    And let’s not forget Ronde’ is also the holder of the single greatest play in Buccaneer history. The dramatic pick six against the loathsome Eagles not only avenged several losses to a team who arrogantly thought they had our number, it closed The Vet for good and propelled the Bucs into their first Super Bowl.
    Eagle fans had their San Diego Super Bowl tickets in hand, plane reservations made and hotel rooms booked. And never have I been happier to see a fan base crushed to its core.
    Thank you Ronde’! You and Canton deserve each other.

  6. '79 Defense Says:

    Nice work, Ira.

    What a career Ronde had. So glad that it all happened with the Bucs and that he is still so close to the organization.

  7. dls5492 Says:

    IMO, Barber’s pick 6 against McNabb and and the Eagles remains the greatest play in buccaneers’ history.

  8. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Well done yet again, Ira. You didn’t let people like Peter King get you down. You pushed through and mission accomplished. I don’t believe Rice is getting in any time soon…and Lynch ought to be awfully thankful you pushed him over the top as well.

  9. Crickett Baker Says:

    I was so glad Ronde mentioned you, Ira, and it was good to see your smiling face on TV. Thanks for the “looks” behind the scenes, with this article.

  10. WillieG Says:

    My dad and I decided to celebrate Ronde’s induction by watching the NFC Championship game. What a great game by Ronde! He did everything!

  11. Cardiac kidz Says:

    Job well done Ira, you did Ronde and Tampa proud!

  12. Fred McNeil Says:

    Congratulations to both of you.

  13. PewterStiffArm Says:

    The ceremony was amazing Ira. Ronde spoke with pure professionalism. A perfect combination of memorizing his heart felt speech and from time to time glancing down at the teleprompter, priceless. I personally would like to thank you Ira for your hard work and dedication to helping the process along. It would have been a little harder for Ronde to be inducted without your knowledge and persistence. I now live in North Carolina, home of the stinking Panthers. My heart and obsession will always be with the Buccaneers after being introduced to them back in 1977. Without JoeBucsFan I would be lost up here. As far as I am concerned the only thing missing from the ceremony would have been a crescendo of excitement coming from the loyal Bucs fans in attendance chanting LET’S GO IRA, (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP). LET’S GO IRA, (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP).

  14. sprbuc Says:

    Well done, Ira. Four defensive players from one defense in the hall speaks for itself…hope we can get five with Mr. Rice!

  15. Big Rob Says:

    Thank you Sage for this thoughtful look into how the Hall of Fame weekend went for our beloved Ronde Barber. Your words brought a tear to my eye. Incredibly well written

  16. TB2023 Says:

    Ira did it again!
    Great job Ira.
    Great job Barber.

  17. Toad Bowels Says:

    Simeon Rice was incredible with both the Cardinals and the Bucs. I hope you can make the case for him to get into the HOF, Mr. Ira Kaufman.

    I think many years playing for some bad Cardinals teams hurt his national visibility but if anyone can do it, you can Mr. Kaufman!

  18. D-Rok Says:

    Great job, Ira! Such a well-deserved honor for Ronde. He was a class act while he was on the field, and always has been a class act off the field.

  19. Eric S Says:

    great job Ronde! for me the Hall of Fame has a little credibility problem until Simeon Rice gets his jacket! Personality and who liked you should not matter he was just as good if not better than Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, and Strahan its kind of funny they got in there before Rice because the media liked them!

  20. unbelievable Says:

    Well done Ira.

    Sounds like Gruden was the only key historical figure who wasn’t there…

  21. JBBUCS_06 Says:


    Got my Barber jersey ready for Eagles v Bucs Wk3 AND Bucs vs Aints Oct 1st (will be there in person). Always a fan, well deserved!!!!!

    P.S. rewatching 2002 NFC championship right now in honor of his big plays. Love ya Ronde!

  22. ghost Says:

    Ronde should’ve been there before Lynch

  23. ModHairKen Says:

    That is the most poignant article Ira’s written to say on this site.

  24. ModHairKen Says:

    By that I mean moving and filled with nostalgia and memories.

  25. JBBUCS_06 Says:

    Much respect to Ronde. Got my #20 jersey ready for Eagles wk3 and Bucs @Saints wk4 (Live and in person).

    Rewatching 2002 NFC championship game now in honor.
    Much love #20!

  26. BillyBucco Says:

    Well done IRA!!!!
    Thanks for all your hard work demanding this great man be honored the way he should be.
    I just hope some of these young guys with loads of talent truly understand the drive that it takes every day to be great.
    Nothing is handed to you, so go out there and earn it.

  27. Jim Rudolph Says:

    Ira, all old school Bucs fans appreciate your advocacy for our Bucs now enshrined in Canton. As compelling as you are with the pen, I’d love to see the video of you in that room making your case for Rondé. My view is that Tom McEwen, Hubert Mizell and Ira Kaufman should all have gold plaques in One Buc Palace as well as the press box at Raymond James Stadium

  28. EternalSon Says:

    Good work Ira!!

  29. Destinjohnny Says:

    He would make an epic GM
    Whatever it is, he has it

  30. Esteban85 Says:

    Agree with ModHairKen, this was a great article that brought me back to the good ole days of Brooks & Barber, Alstott & Dunn.

    How lucky are we Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans that we have the best announcer in Gene Deckerhoff and the best beat writer in Irv.

    Ronde Barber was one of my favorites of all time. Class act & underrated from the beginning. He was the best secondary player in Buccaneers history in my humble opinion.

  31. Mr. Editor Says:

    Thank you, Ira, for a great article and for your work in making the case for Mr. Barber’s induction into the Hall of Fame. So glad to see Bucs fans out in force to support a true champion and great person.

  32. Pickgrin Says:

    Way to stay patient – and prepared Ira.

    I’m sure you made a great case for Barber’s induction every time – but honestly, Ronde’s career and accomplishments alone should have gotten him in by the 2nd or 3rd time he was eligible. Just goes to show how biased towards big market players some of these idiot Hall voters are…

    Good Job Ira and CONGRATS to Ronde Barber!

  33. Pickgrin Says:

    BTW – how about we compare “First Ballot” HOFer Jason Taylor’s most pertinent stats to those of Simeon Rice…

    Jason Taylor – 233 Games played – 139.5 Sacks – 47 Forced Fumbles

    Simeon Rice – 174 Games played – 122 sacks – 35 forced Fumbles

    So it took Taylor 59 extra games to surpass Rice by only 17 sacks…

    Taylor gets voted in on the 1st ballot – and Simeon can’t even get into the conversation? Thats some BS!

  34. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    A Realist-inspired repost:

    Hunter’s Crack Pipe Says:
    August 5th, 2023 at 6:39 pm
    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.

    I will add, I got a kick out of Rondé when he said he had the sculptor give his bust some razor stubble so that they can differentiate it from Tiki’s bust when he gets in. 🙂

  35. garro Says:

    Well said Mr. Kaufman. I say Mr. because using that term is something my parents taught me to do as a southerner and as a sign of respect. I suspect that Ronde was taught the same type of manners as I was because he has always been a class act. Hats off Mrs. Barber.

    Congrats Mr. Kaufman! Your perseverance in your efforts to get Mr. Barber in to the hall is appreciated by this fan.

    Somewhere the late great Mr. Tom McEwen is cheering you both.

    Go Bucs!

  36. Crack3r K Says:

    Beautiful piece of writing, Ira. Fitting for a well earned gold jacket. Go Ronde!

  37. Rocky Dugan Says:

    Hardy Nickerson would be a great Buc addition to the HOF. A tougher Buc player would be hard to find. Cut out of the Jack Lambert mold.