Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ex-Buc Ronde Barber to join Fox Sports in ‘hybrid role’
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Ronde Barber will make the jump from playing football to analyzing it this summer.
Barber, who retired as a player last month after a 16-year career spent entirely with the Bucs, will join Fox Sports this season in a hybrid role that will include serving as a game analyst on NFL broadcasts and as a studio analyst on Fox Sports 1, a new 24-hour sports channel.
“This has been in the works for at least a couple years,’’ Barber told The Tampa Tribune on Friday. “Fox asked me back then if I was going to retire and I said it was still down the line. But once I did retire, they were the first ones we called.
“We had some other opportunities we could have pursued, but I think this is the one we wanted to be with all along and it’s where we ended up. So, it’s a good opportunity and I’m looking forward to it.’’
Barber, a five-time Pro Bowler, becomes the latest in a long line of former Bucs to make the transition to television, joining notables such as John Lynch, Warren Sapp, Trent Dilfer, Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy.
Like Lynch a few years ago, Barber might get the chance to prepare for his regular-season duties by working as an analyst on Bucs preseason games. Lynch is not expected to return to that role in 2013, and Barber said his agent is talking to the team about possibly replacing Lynch.
The opportunity with Fox, meanwhile, appears to be a natural for Barber, who played his entire career in the NFC, which is the conference Fox covers with its game broadcasts.
Barber’s role apparently will stretch into the studio with Fox Sports 1, which is the network’s latest endeavor.
“That was a big thing for me,’’ Barber said. “Fox has been successful with everything they’ve done network cable-wise, and this was an opportunity to get in on the ground floor and really be there when it starts to go.’’
Fox is expected to roll out its 24-hour multi-sport channel on Aug, 17. There will be a focus on football with shows such as Fox Football Daily, which is slated to air Monday through Friday from 6-7 p.m.
“I obviously don’t know how I’ll do, but I think I’ll do pretty well,’’ Barber said. “I’m obviously excited to be there with a new network that is very multifaceted and I imagine I’ll be doing a couple of different things.’’