As far as second-year S Mark Barron was concerned, though, there was one person missing who he wished would have been there.
“I really wish (Ronde Barber) would have come back and could be here,” Barron said of the 16-year veteran defensive back who announced his retirement from the game earlier this month.
“I feel like I still had some things I could have learned from him. But I can’t be selfish like that. He felt like it was that time for him, and so it is what it is. I just wish he would have come back.”
Barron could doubtless use some of Barber’s tutelage. The Bucs’ first-round pick in the 2012 draft, Barron struggled with his consistency last year, all but disappearing for several weeks between a solid start and strong finish.
But that’s to be expected of any rookie, and Barron believes he is well on his way to evening out his play. He thinks he has a better understanding of the defense and his role in it than a year ago.
And it’s not like he’s suddenly lacking for mentors without Barber around. The Bucs signed two-time Pro Bowl S Dashon Goldson during free agency and traded for four-time Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis.
“I like learning and studying the game, and I picked up a lot of (tips) from (Barber) and now there are two more players I can learn from,” Barron said. “So, I feel like I am in a great situation, learning from three great players.”
Source: Roy Cummings, TBO.com