A third-round selection in the 1997 NFL Draft, Ronde Barber has played 16 seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but hasn't revealed yet whether or not he'll return for another year in 2013. While the veteran defensive back was absent from the beginning of the offseason conditioning program, head coach Greg Schiano downplayed the significance of his absence to Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times.
"He's not under contract, so, no, he was not here," Schiano said. "We've been in communication, but there's no developments, and that's fine. That's the way we kind of left it. We just continue to keep in communication. There's certainly no silence or anything. I just think it's the process of figuring it out."
The Buccaneers have made it clear that they hope Barber will return for another season with the team. After 14 seasons as a starting cornerback for Tampa Bay, Barber's role was a little different for the Buccaneers in 2012 as he spent most of his time at safety.
His streak of 215 consecutive starts dates back to November 1999 and is the all-time longest among defensive backs. With one more season of 16 starts, Barber would move into fourth all-time behind Brett Favre, Jim Marshall and Mick Tingelhoff. He is currently in a tie with Alan Page for sixth and behind Bruce Matthews and Will Shields for fourth and fifth, respectively.
Barber has 47 career interceptions, tallying four in 2012. However, the Buccaneers' pass defense finished the season as the NFL's worst, allowing 297.4 passing yards per game.