Jamael Orondé “Rondé” Barber, CB #20
Hometown: Roanoke, VA
Experience: 16 years
Ronde Barber may be the oldest Tampa Bay Buccaneer, but don’t tell him that. He has been the heart and soul of the Bucs’ defense for 15 seasons at cornerback, but for the first time, he will play at safety for his 16th season in the league.
Jamael Orondé “Rondé” Barber was born April 7, 1975 in Montgomery County, Va., seven minutes before his twin brother Atiim Kiambu Hakeem-Ah “Tiki” Barber, who was a running back for the New York Giants. The two always did everything together, and even went to the same college to play for the same team. Ronde was drafted in the third round, 66th over all, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1997 NFL draft.
In college, Barber had the third most interceptions in the school’s history with 15, just two shy of the team record. He started in all 36 games, including two bowl games. In Barber’s three seasons at Virgina, he earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference first team honors.
In his first year as a Buc, Barber played very little––only one game. In that game, he earned a spot as the nickel back during the playoffs. He showed enough for the next season, where he started in nine games, earning 81 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. From there on out, Barber was a starter. For the 2002 season, he was a key member of the Super Bowl XXXVII Championship team. In the NFC Championship game that year, Bucs fans remember Barber picking off Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and running it back for a 92-yard touchdown to take the Bucs to the Super Bowl for the first time.
In 2005, he became the ninth member and first cornerback of the 20/20 club, earning at least 20 sack and 20 interceptions. Barber has 11 career defensive touchdowns, which makes him the active leader. All-time, he is only behind Darren Sharper and Rod Woodson, who both have 13. Overall, Barber has a career 14 regular season touchdowns and one playoff touchdown. He has been a five-time Pro Bowl selection, and holds the NFL records for most consecutive starts at cornerback and most sacks by a cornerback. His career numbers through Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season are: 1,147 tackles, 28 sacks, and 44 interceptions.
Many weren’t sure if Barber would fit in with the plans of new Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano, but Barber was moved to safety and it seems to be working. In Barber‘s 200th consecutive start, he got a sack and an interception, starting his 2012 season with a bang.
Barber married his wife Claudia in 2001 and they have two daughters, Yammile Rose and Justyce Rosina. They reside in Tampa. He is an avid golfer and has taken part in the Outback Pro Am golf tournaments.
Barber is also very involved in the Tampa Bay community, contributing to several charities. The charities reflect a wide range of interests, including diabetes, breast cancer, illiteracy, and disabled students. He is also an author with his brother Tiki. They have written eight children’s books together. The books are about real life experiences the twins had growing up that they felt were important and wanted to share with others.
With Barber’s style of play, record breaking numbers, and big heart it is easy to see why he has become a fan favorite.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.