Ronde Barber retires from the NFL - WFLA News Channel 8

Ronde Barber retires from the NFL

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Ronde Barber says he wasn't the biggest or fastest, but in many ways he was the best at his position in the NFL.

Barber played for sixteen seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thursday, he officially retired, saying an emotional farewell to the game he loved.

He thanked former players and the coaching staff for his years in Tampa, but he says he's not leaving the area.

Barber says, "I'll always be a part of this community. I'm not going anywhere. It's the only place my girls know as home."

Things didn't start off so well for Barber in Tampa. He struggled to make the team after being drafted from Virginia. Barber says the struggle made him a better player.

"I needed the struggle at the beginning. It made me work, if I wanted it bad enough, I had to work for it. I wouldn't do that over," said Barber.

Former Bucs Coach Tony Dungy says the desire to be the best made Ronde Barber into the player he was.

"That's what set him apart from everybody else," said Dungy. "He wasn't going to take second best and he wasn't going to accept not being out there."

Barber would not say what his next step will be, but he did say he has no regrets.

"I think the best way to end it is to say, I had fun," Barber said. "I loved coming to work every day."

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