By: Justin Pawlowski

We thought that the secondary might have been set after the signing of safety Dashon Goldson and the trade for corner Darrelle Revis.

We also thought that the additions of these two All-Pro players might entice Ronde Barber to return for one more season and possibly a playoff run with the Bucs.

Then Warren Sapp made the announcement of the Buccaneers 2nd round selection, and possibly the end of his former teammates career.

“With the 43rd pick in the 2013 NFL Draft,” Sapp said above the loud audience. “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Johnthan Banks, defensive back, Mississippi State.”

With those words spoken by Warren Sapp, the Bucs actions of selecting Johnthan Banks may have spoken much louder than their words regarding Ronde Barber over the past month and a half.

By selecting a cornerback in the 2nd round, that told me one of two things is happening when it comes to Ronde Barber.  Either Ronde Barber has told the Buccaneers he intends to retire or the Buccaneers just told Ronde Barber that if he returns, he will rarely see the field.

A 2nd round player typically does not sit on the bench the majority of his rookie season.  Banks was a 4-year starter at Mississippi State in the SEC, so a lack of experience will not keep him from the field.  Banks will most likely start the season as the Bucs 3rd cornerback and progress to a full-time starter by season’s end. 

The Buccaneers also like Eric Wright in the slot against 3-wide receiver sets.  Well, that’s where Ronde Barber thrives.  If this scenario plays out, would Ronde be willing to watch full games from the sideline?

Again, we do not know Ronde’s intentions and if he has already told the Bucs brass what he intends to do.  If he has not truly made up his mind and told either Greg Schiano or Mark Dominik, then they might have just made up his mind for him.

According to Mark Dominik, no contact has been made.

“When we reach out and when Ronde reaches out we will talk through that. We’re still here and I’m sure we’ll talk to Ronde soon. We’ll give him his time and let him look at what has been done. Then, obviously, we’re more than willing to talk to him and hope he makes a Buc decision.”

If Revis, Wright, and Banks are the Bucs top 3 cornerbacks, why would the Bucs even want Ronde Barber to come back?  4th cornerbacks on football teams must contribute in a big way to special teams. 

Is this how Ronde Barber wants to go out?  As a special teams player? 

Is this how Bucs fans would want to see one of their legends end his career? In a ball cap on the sideline in the 4th quarter of a close game against the Saints?

Johnthan Banks was the right pick at the right time.  The Bucs could have gone defensive line or tight end in the 2nd round, but they knew defensive line was deep in this draft and Banks was one of their highest rated players.

Banks was voted the top defensive back in all of college football in 2012.  His stature at 6’2” will allow the Bucs to match him up with taller receivers in the NFL and in their division.

“Obviously, the captain of his football team,” Mark Dominik said about Banks. “He is a very mature 23 year old who is married with a little one. He’s the Jim Thorpe winner {Top defensive back in college football}. He played in one of the toughest leagues, the SEC, as a starter for over 45 games and would take the number one guy off of every team, and that’s a tough call in the SEC.”

Yes, it is always hard when a legend is forced to retire or comes to the realization that he is no longer needed to make an impact on his team.

For Ronde Barber, Bucs fans, including myself, have loved watching him for more than a decade, but I speak as a Bucs fan when I say that it would just be too odd to see Ronde riding the bench for this football team. Ronde has a bright career in TV ahead of him, let’s just go ahead and start that now.

Be sure to follow Justin Pawlowski and 98.7 The Fan on twitter.

Catch The Commish weekdays from 9-12 on 98.7 The Fan


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