3. Cornerback Ronde Barber: Has been playing for the Buccaneers since he was drafted by the organization in 1997. Despite always being one of the smallest players on the field, Barber has a big heart and plays like a giant. He is the franchise leader in interceptions, games played, and games started.
Why is Barber No. 3?
The NFL's Iron Man had a slow start to his career in Tampa Bay. Barber, who was a third-round pick out of Virginia in '97, appeared in only one game as a rookie. However, two seasons later, Barber was a full-fledged starter, and he was one of the anchors on defense that helped the Bucs capture their only Lombardi Trophy in 2002. His 10 interceptions in 2000 is a team record, and he is the franchise leader with 43 career picks. Barber is also the only player in NFL history with at least 25 interceptions (43) and 25 sacks (27.0).
Barber's Legacy With The Buccaneers:
Barber's legacy is best defined by a single play: when he intercepted Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb during the NFC Championship game in '02. Barber returned that pick for a touchdown and sealed the game. That one play allowed the Bucs to finally overtake the Eagles (after failing so many times before) and it put them into the Super Bowl.
But Barber has certainly done a lot more during his 16 seasons in the NFL. He has built quite the resume and it certainly seems as though it is Hall of Fame worthy. Barber is a five-time Pro Bowler, a five-time All-Pro selection (three times First-Team, two times Second-Team), a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and a Super Bowl Champion.
On opening day Barber will start his 200th consecutive game, which currently leads the NFL and is the longest-ever such streak for a defensive back. To go along with his franchise leading 43 interceptions, Barber also has 1,337 tackles (second only to LB Derrick Brooks), 232 passes defensed, 27 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, and a total of 13 touchdowns (the most in franchise history for a defensive player).
With numbers like that, it is easy to see why Barber is so high on this list. He has played the game for so long at a high level and he is always the consummate professional. Barber's place among Tampa Bay's greats is set in stone. The only thing left for him is a spot in the Hall of Fame when he hangs up the cleats.
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