Publicly the Tampa Bay Buccaneers said they were hoping Ronde Barber would return for a 17th season with the franchise.

But the veteran defensive back opted to hang ’em up, telling Jay Glazer of Fox Sports today that he is retiring from the NFL.

I've had a better run than I ever could've dreamed of having,” Barber said.

The Bucs moved Barber from cornerback, where he played for 15 seasons, to free safety this past season. They’ve done considerable work this offseason fortifying the secondary, making a big free-agent splash for safety Dashon Goldson and then trading for Darrelle Revis with the New York Jets. All the time, the club let it be known the door remained open.

But Barber, 38, made the decision that he had played enough after it became apparent there would not be a starting job for him. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Barber played in 241 career games. He made 47 interceptions and had 28 sacks and scored eight defensive touchdowns while being a part of one Super Bowl championship club.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune