Tampa Bay's ageless Barber keeps on keeping on


Tampa Bay's ageless Barber keeps on keeping on

How long has Tampa Bay defensive back Ronde Barber been playing football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?He was a third-round pick in the 1997 NFL draft. The same draft that yielded Orlando Pace to the St. Louis Rams at No. 1 overall, Darrell Russell to the Raiders at No. 2 overall and Adam Treu to Oakland in the third round at No. 72 overall. Or six picks after Barber was scooped up by the Buccaneers.Or think of it this way -- he was drafted less than three months after President Bill Clinton was sworn in for his second term.Five Pro Bowls, three first-team All-Pro selections, 46 interceptions, 1,203 tackles and a late-career position switch later, Barber is still doing it. And the 37-year-old, who has made a seamless transition from cornerback to free safety brings his seeming ageless ability to Oakland Sunday.RELATED: Ronde Barber career stats 2012 game logs
"I think if youve played as long as I have, if you havent seen it all, youre just not paying attention," Barber said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters on Wednesday. "Ive seen just about anything offenses can throw at me and defensive schemes can throw it at me. Theres obviously little things that you pick up and with this new staff Ive even picked up new stuff, because my previous 15 years is basically the same type of system."Ive had three different head coaches, but the defense stayed pretty similar so I was very comfortable in that. With this one, Ive had to adjust, have to get used to some new things, but its all the same."Thus far, in moving from the famed "Tampa-2" zone defense to a more hybrid "man," Barber already has three interceptions, matching his season totals from the past two years, with a 78-yard pick-6 against Kansas City's Brady Quinn on Oct. 14.Barber was one of, if not the first veteran rookie Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano sought out after being hired."At the time time, Ronde wasn't sure if he was going to come back and thank goodness he did," Schiano said. "He has just been an awesome contributor, not only on the field but off it he has been a leader. We have a fairly young team and Ronde serves as a great role model and example for the younger guys. How to prepare. Even at this stage of his career, the guy is incredible in his preparation, both mentally and physically. Great mentor for our guys."And the position change?"I think it has gone as well as you could have hoped for this late in your career," Schiano said. "But Ronde is a football player so I think the challenge of a new position really energized him. He has attacked this thing in a great way and he is in great physical shape. You worry as you get into the latter part of the year, can he sustain?"We'll be smart with him, but he is in great shape and playing at a high level."Barber was also playing at a high level a decade ago, when his Buccaneers met the Raiders in San Diego for Super Bowl XXXVII.It is not a fond memory for the Raiders or their fans, and why would the 48-21 Tampa Bay victory be a highlight in the East Bay. But in Tampa Bay, well, it's all so far away for Barber, who, along with the Raiders' kicking duo of Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski, are the only players still with their respective teams form that game."I never think about that," said Barber, who started at right cornerback in the Super Bowl and had four tackles. "That seems like a lifetime ago. Obviously Im the only one in the building other than (third-year general manager) Mark Dominik. Is that right? I may be mistaken. There may be a couple of people, but football people theres not many of us left."Thats not something that ever comes up. Obviously, when people bring it up you recollect and remember. But it really doesnt seem like the same career. Thats a long time gone for me."

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Raiders general Reggie McKenzie plans to extend quarterback Derek Carr’s contract this offseason. That isn’t a new thing, something that has been in the works for some time. He re-affirmed that fact last week, citing his team’s commitment to work out a long-term deal likely the biggest in franchise history.

Carr was reportedly frustrated with the pace of contract talks after the NFL draft – they’re supposed to heat up this spring and summer – but said he believes a deal will get worked out before training camp begins.

That’s his deadline for an offseason deal, the point where he wants focus honed on football.

“I have an agent who is in charge of that and I am confident that he and Mr. (Reggie) McKenzie will work it out,” Carr, a Fresno State alum, told the Fresno Bee. “I am only focused on becoming a better football player and helping my teammates become better players.

“I have complete faith it will get done before training camp. These things take time. The Raiders know I want to be here; this is my family, and I know they want me to be their quarterback.”

The sides have discussed parameters of a long-term deal, with greater specifics to be ironed out in the future. Carr has long said he wants to be a Raider his entire career. The Raiders want him as the public face of their franchise. A new deal is expected by all parties, a sentiment that has never wavered on either side.

Carr is scheduled to make a $977,519 in base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract.

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

The Raiders offseason program is five weeks old. Players have lifted weights. They’ve improved cardiovascular shape. They’ve done drills in position groups and discussed schematics. They’ve added rookies to a group now 90 strong.

On Monday, they can finally put on helmets. They still can’t wear pads or have full contact, but the Raiders can play 11-on-11. Receivers will be covered. Quarterback Derek Carr will throw into traffic. Generally speaking, the competition cranks up a bit.

The NFL collective bargaining agreement has strict mandates regarding offseason activity, and a period formally called “Phase III” allows for more realistic on-field football work.

The Raiders will conduct 10 OTA sessions over the next three weeks. The media can watch three of them. Tuesday is the first, with another in each of the next two weeks. These sessions are technically voluntary, though the Raiders generally hover around perfect attendance. Head coach Jack Del Rio prefers his team be unified in the offseason. Players know it and show up.

There is a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15 which wraps the offseason program and starts a quiet period that extends until training camp begins in late July.

These OTAs offer an opportunity for new players to learn the system, for adjustments to be made and for chemistry to be built heading into a 2017 season where expectations are high.