December 23, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Ronde Barber (20) walks off the field after they lost to the St. Louis Rams at Raymond James Stadium. St. Louis Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ronde Barber would stay if he was still starting

Yesterday Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber retired from the NFL after a stellar career that includes a Super Bowl ring. While his career started as a corner back, he’s been playing safety to extend his career. But the secondary was one of the most improved areas this offseason and with Barber facing limited playing time he decided to retire instead.

“Now don’t get me wrong, if [GM] Mark [Dominik] and [coach] Greg [Schiano] would’ve said, ‘Hey, we absolutely need you to play, you played great last year, here’s X amount of dollars, come play, we need you…’ That wasn’t necessarily the case,” Barber said, via the USA Today. “They’re reshaping that football team. You’re spending a quarter of a billion in free agents in two years, they’re definitely going in a new direction.

“But that wasn’t a factor. I’ve had that conversation with Mark the past couple of years about them needing to sign guys for the future and put players on this team again. Let’s be honest, we have a hard time drawing [fans] in this town, so those additions for us are almost essential.”

Secondary acquisitions this offseason include San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson and trading for New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. In 2012 the Buccaneers aded cornerback Eric Wright via free agency and drafted safety Mark Barron out of Alabama.

That crowded secondary has effectively phased out Barber, who is 38 years old. He could’ve stayed on as a back up or in certain packages but he definitely wanted to start.

“Possibly. That would’ve made it a little bit harder of a decision, obviously,” Barber said. “But that wasn’t the case. They wanted me to play, I don’t doubt that at all. I had open lines of communication with Mark the past couple of years about continuing to play.

“At the end, it was me deciding I didn’t need football as much as I once did and it was time to venture into a new thing.”

Tags: Ronder Barber Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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