For the first time in over 15 years, Ronde Barber will not be on the field when the Bucs' season gets underway. The popular cornerback, now 38 years old, has decided to retire after 16 seasons.
FOX Sports' Jay Glazer was the first to report the news, via Twitter, this afternoon.
"I've had a better run than I ever could've dreamed of having," Barber said, according to Glazer's tweet.
Barber was the last remaining member of the Bucs storied defense late 1990s and 2000s and the only member of the Super Bowl XXXVII championship squad still with the team.
His memorable interception return for a touchdown late in the 2002 NFC Championship against Philadelphia sealed the Bucs' first appearance in the big game.
Barber's 215 consecutive regular season starts is the longest current streak in the NFL and sixth-longest in league history.
However, Barber had reportedly been grappling with the decision to retire for some time. It's not clear whether the team's signing of high=profile free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis had any impact on his decision.
Barber was preceeded into retirement by his identical twin brother Tiki, who stepped down from the Giants in 2006 to take a job in broadcasting.
Tiki tweeted a note to his brother after hearing the news: "Congrats & happy for my twin, Ronde, who's hanging up the cleats!"
More Ronde Barber highlights:
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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