Ronde Barber entered the NFL as a third-round draft pick and a backup. He spent much of his career in the shadow of his twin brother, Tiki. He leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as one of the signature players in franchise history.
"I've had a better run than I ever could've dreamed of having," Barber said.
Barber will be remembered for his toughness, versatility and durability. He holds the record for most consecutive starts by a defensive back (215) and is the only cornerback to record at least 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in his career. Only Darren Sharper and Rod Woodson scored more defensive touchdowns.
Tony Dungy's "Tampa 2" defense was one of the most dominant trends of the last decade. In many ways, Barber was the defining "Tampa 2" cornerback. He could tackle, cover and blitz, and he had great instincts to make big plays. He could play inside and out.
Barber will be an interesting case for the Hall of Fame Committee someday, and we believe he'll have a shot at enshrinement. But that's a debate for another day. There is no debating Barber's place as the rock of the Tampa Bay franchise over the last two decades, a player who outlasted his talented twin brother by six full NFL seasons.
That shows it wasn't all about the gene pool. Tiki Barber played with as much heart as any player in his generation.
UPDATE: Barber officially will announce his retirement during a press conference scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. PST.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.