Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs begin workouts still awaiting Barber's decision
As the 2013 Buccaneers gathered for the first time Monday at team headquarters, a franchise icon was conspicuous by his absence.
Defensive back Ronde Barber, who turned 38 on April 7, remains a free agent, undecided whether to return for a 17th NFL season.
“No, No. 20 did not show up,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano said of Barber. “He's not under contract, so he was not here. We've been in communication, but there are no developments. It's just kind of where it is, which is fine.”
The Bucs have stated publicly they would like Barber back a year after he registered 92 tackles, a team-high four interceptions, a forced fumble and a sack during Tampa Bay's 7-9 mark in Schiano's first season.
Barber did not respond Monday to phone and text messages.
Barber switched from cornerback to safety in 2012, pairing with rookie Mark Barron in a secondary that struggled all season as the Bucs yielded a league-high 4,758 yards through the air.
The Bucs signed 49ers Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson at the start of free agency, and he will team with Barron this fall as Tampa Bay's last line of defense.
“It's kind of where we left it (when we talked a couple weeks ago) and we'll continue to keep in communications,” Schiano said of Barber. “Certainly, there is no silence or anything. It's just the process of figuring it out.”
Barber has started 215 consecutive games, the longest streak by any defensive back in NFL history, but that run may end this fall because Barber's role remains unclear. The five-time Pro Bowler could find himself a part-time player, especially if the Bucs consummate a trade for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.