Barber broke the news to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer in a telephone conversation, indicating he couldn't have fathomed a better tenure as a pro:
The Tampa Bay star's twin brother, Tiki, a former stud running back for the New York Giants, congratulated Ronde on Twitter:
Though Ronde Barber played in just one contest in his rookie season, the five-time Pro Bowler didn't miss a game for the rest of his playing days. While he was an exceptional cover corner, the real danger Barber presented was when he blitzed.
No cornerback has ever had as many sacks as Barber, who racked up 28 in his illustrious career to go along with 47 interceptions, 13 forced fumbles and eight touchdowns.
As might be expected, though, due to Barber’s age and mileage having played so many downs in the NFL, he had to make adjustments on the back end of his extended time in Tampa Bay. During the 2012 season, Barber switched positions to free safety, but the Bucs had the worst pass defense in the league statistically.
GM Mark Dominik worked hard to implement a revamped secondary, acquiring lockdown cornerback Darrelle Revis in a trade with the New York Jets and All-Pro ex-San Francisco 49ers free safety Dashon Goldson in free agency.
That essentially spelled the end for Barber in Tampa, who may have been able to stay on as a substitute corner in nickel and dime packages at best.
The highlight of Barber’s career came in the form of a Lombardi Trophy, when the Bucs dominated the Oakland Raiders in a 48-21 Super Bowl XXXVII triumph.