Sports Illustrated ran a feature on Tiki Barber late last month, in which they delved into Tiki's desire to get back into football. I only just now got around to reading it, and I have to say it's really uninteresting. Except for a few quotes by Ronde Barber, who comes off as a great teammate, focused on football and uninterested in anything else. Whereas Tiki's life is shown to be one of glitz and glamour, Ronde's is one of football and dedication to his craft. This singular focus helps explain how Ronde has managed to maintain a high quality of play into his 36th year and his 15th season in the NFL.
Tiki Barber embraced the New York lifestyle, but to Ronde that holds no attraction:
"I'd visit Tiki, and New York was like Las Vegas," Ronde says. "I'd run around, have fun for a few days, then go home. I'd say, 'How are you living here?' But Tiki's always loved it."
Instead, the man simply cares about football. Tiki even compares him to Peyton Manning:
"Ronde serves on no boards. Simple tastes. He likes golf and Corvettes," says Tiki. "He's like the Mannings. Singularly focused on football. Did seeing him make me think about myself? Sure. Absolutely."
This is why I love Ronde Barber. He's been a Buccaneer since 1997, and has been playing at a high level since his sophomore year. He was tailor-made for this defense and holds a lot of Bucs records as well as a few NFL records. Ronde is scheduled to be a starting cornerback next year for the 14th consecutive year. At some point in the near future his play will decline sharply, or he will retire, or both. But not just yet.