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Bucs' Barber: Tiki can come back; players planning workouts

One week after former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber announced his plan to come out of retirement for a second shot at football, Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber urged fans not to bet against his identical twin brother.

"I wouldn't put anything past the guy," Ronde told the *Tampa Tribune* on Monday. "He's sitting around with a lot of nothing to do at the moment. Tiki's got the same drive that I do, and he's missed football for sure ... especially the last couple of years. If nothing materializes, nothing materializes."

Tiki, 35, retired after the 2006 season as the Giants' all-time leading rusher with 10,449 yards. He added 55 touchdowns and 586 receptions for 5,183 yards in 10 seasons in New York. In Barber's last season he rushed for 1,662 yards -- the second-most in his career -- and added 465 yards on 58 receptions. He subsequently was hired as a correspondent for NBC's "The Today Show" and "Football Night in America."

The Giants, who still own Barber's rights, are expected to release the running back and make him a free agent, naturally leading to speculation that the Barber brothers could play together for the first time since they were teammates at the University of Virginia.

"You can't close the door," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said of the possibility of signing Tiki Barber. "Anybody that can help your team, you want to look into it. Obviously, that's not the direction we're heading right now –- we're about youth and building through the draft. Me and (general manager) Mark Dominik will have those discussions shortly, whenever free agency opens, but Tiki is definitely an impact player.

With a lockout in effect, Ronde Barber is unable to make contact with the Buccaneers organization to urge them to sign his brother. But Morris has a pretty good comparison in Ronde, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers.

"Right now, we have a player that looks like him, plays like him, talks like him, walks like him and has had a lot of success with us," Morris said. "Ronde's an amazing player. Right now, he's ageless. We all know it'll catch up with him eventually, but until that day happens, we're going to continue to enjoy Ronde Barber."

While organized team activities are prohibited during the lockout, Ronde Barber said Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman is organizing informal workouts amongst some of the team's players.

"We'll be doing that on our own and Josh already has feelers out to everybody about getting us together," Barber said. "Assuming we're not back, we'll at least be getting ready. I trust our guys to do what they need to do. They did it last offseason, showing great commitment, and we have great leadership."

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