Will Ronde Barber return to Buccaneers for his 17th season?

Al Messerschmidt

Ronde Barber has finished 16 seasons, racked up 215 consecutive regular season starts and has played 240 games in his career. But is that career over after Sunday?

16 season, 215 consecutive starts (leading active NFL players), 240 total games played and 231 total starts. 28 sacks, 47 interceptions, 15 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, 12 defensive touchdowns, one special teams touchdown, one punt return touchdown and one safety. Five Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pros.

That's one impressive list of credentials. Will Ronde Barber continue to add to that list, though? Will the 37-year-old return for a seventeenth NFL season in 2013? The Bucs have made it clear that they want him back, and Ronde will have to decide for himself whether he wants to return. That will put the team in a bind as they decide whether to bring in a replacement free safety, but they should keep Ronde's spot open: he has been absolutely amazing this season.

In fact, this must have been his best season in years. He racked up four interceptions for the first time since 2008, his last season as a Pro Bowler, and managed his first defensive touchdown since that same season. After a few stumbles in the first couple of games, he has turned in a terrific season. If he doesn't return next season, the Bucs will be worse off.

In the mean time, we can at least enjoy this outstanding bit of NFL Films footage. Ronde Barber is the oldest man on the roster, and it shows. Leonard Johnson and Tiquan Underwood talk about acting like fanboys, and watching Barber on TV - back when he won a Super Bowl. It's a great bit of film, and you should watch it -- it may be one of your last chances to watch Barber as a Buccaneer.

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