Bucs want Ronde Barber to return

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have asked defensive back Ronde Barber to return for a 17th season. But Barber has yet to make a decision on if he wants to return or retire.

"Coach (Greg) Schiano and I met with Ronde this past week and expressed our desire for him to return to play another season with the Buccaneers," general manager Mark Dominik said Saturday morning. "He asked us for some time to make his decision and we certainly respect that."

The Bucs may have to go into the start of free agency not knowing for sure if Barber will return. But the team appears prepared to do that. They have Mark Barron as their strong safety. Ahmad Black could be a candidate to start at free safety if Barber retires, or the Bucs could look for help in free agency or the draft.

The Bucs went through a similar process with Barber last offseason -- telling him they wanted him back and giving him time before he ultimately made the decision to play another season.