INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have not made a decision on what to do with safety Ronde Barber and cornerback Eric Wright, two players whose future with team is uncertain but for completely different reasons.
The Bucs have yet to meet with the 37-year-old Barber, who may or may not return in 2013 to the same starting role he had last year and may even opt to retire after 16 NFL seasons.
“We’re trying to figure out where we're going and he's trying to figure it out,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “I want to give him enough time to where the soreness is gone. You know, he needs to get away and (say) ‘Now what do I really want to do?'
“Let's not make decisions based on, ‘my ankle still hurts,' because when you get to the stage of your career where he is, things just take a little longer to get better. They heal a little slower. Once he starts feeling good again, he can make a decision.’’
The Bucs have also not made a call yet on what to do with Wright, who missed time because of injuries and a suspension for Adderall use last year that erased the guarantee on his $7.5 million 2013 salary.
The Bucs are contemplating several options with Wright, including cutting him, cutting him and re-signing him to a more favorable contract and holding on to him and hoping he’s more reliable in 2013 and beyond.
“We’re still looking at the entire cornerback picture for our football team, not only with free agency coming but with the draft,’’ Dominik said when asked Thursday about his plans for Wright.
“But then we try to remind ourselves that the growth of some our young guys was good during the season, certainly they played well in the final game against Atlanta.
“So we have some talent there, but obviously, we’d like to add more. It goes back to what coach Schiano talks about with competition and certainly that’s a position we’d like to bring competition to.’’
Dominik said a meeting with Barber will likely take place in the next week or so and a decision on both players could be made well before the March 12 start of free agency.
"There's plenty of opportunity for us to make the right decision,’’ Schiano said. “We don't have to -- and I'm a true believer in that -- don't rush just so you can check off the box.
“Let things unfold, because sometimes decision have a way of working themselves out. Sometimes you make the wrong decision because you make it at the wrong time.’’