Q&A with the Barber Brothers

"Last time we played I actually had a pretty significant role. I think I was starting at that point. Tiki was - I don't know - we felt like the Giants didn't know what to do with him. He was definitely situational. I think I only got a chance to be on the field with him probably five or six plays or so. This is definitely different. Preparing for this game, I have realized how much he's matured as a runner. I wasn't giving you enough credit but now I am. (Laughs)." - Ronde Barber on his brother

The last time you both met you were both situational players. How would you describe preparing for each other this time?

T. BARBER: Obviously we both have come into ourselves as players. Ronde has developed, over the years, into one of the premier cornerbacks in this league. I think I have become a valuable part of our Giants' offense. So to be able to go against him in such a big capacity on Monday night is exciting. I think a lot of what this game could have been is overshadowed because our records aren't like what we'd like them to be. We are both 4 and 6. This game is paramount for both of us. A lot of this ‘brother' hype is washed away for both of us, I think.

T. BARBER: Thanks, man.

Q. What is it going to be like facing each other on the field?

R. BARBER: It's a unique opportunity, definitely. But at this point that's all it is. When it comes to fruition on Monday, obviously I'll be able to tell you a little bit more about how I feel about it or how I felt about it and will be able to reflect on it a little bit more. But right now I am just trying to prepare for this week because we need to win a football game. That's the bottom line. Tiki, right now, is 21 in a blue Jersey; that's about all I can say about it. Obviously what goes with this game, the family coming into town, more family coming into town, more friends wanting to be here, that's a little bit different, but it's been expected and the wife is handling that stuff accordingly. So the game part, I am trying to make it like a regular week.

T. BARBER: I couldn't say it better than he did.

Q. Ronde, as the defending Super Bowl Champions, what has happened to the Buccaneers and will the Keyshawn issue become a distraction?

R. BARBER: Earlier in the year I think we were taking a stance that some of the things Keyshawn was saying weren't a distraction. The reality of it is, they were distractions because they were taking us away from what we were trying to do and that's basically to prepare to win football games. The situation now is what it is. It's already past. Someone earlier today asked me what is "Is what it is" means? It means what it means. (Laughs) It's over with. We have moved on with the situation. They made the appropriate decision in their minds and me, as a player, I just have to live with it. I have got to win a football game. That's all I care about. That's all I am preparing to do this week.

Q. Ronde, you are in a more interesting position than most cornerbacks. Since you have so many tackles are the Buccaneers utilizing you differently?

R. BARBER: I am a pass defender first, without a doubt. The situations that we have been in this year trailing in a lot of football games, a lot of offenses run, run right at us. I happen to be the non-cover corner in this situation, so I am the 8th guy in the box. I am a free hitter a lot of times. I think that's why I am leading the team in tackles right now.

Q. Would there be any let-up if you had a clear shot at your brother?
B R. BARBER: Not at all. He's not putting up as many pounds as the guys last week, so I think I can handle him.

Q. Venus and Serena Williams always seem to have a lot of trouble playing against each other. I understand that's an individual sport, but could you ever identify with the emotions that they must have dealt with?

T. BARBER: I don't think so because that's an individual sport. What I do is I share the blame and the glory with the 21 other guys on the football field. If it was just me versus Ronde I can understand how it would be difficult because finding a way to dissect him and break him down and finding his weaknesses and analyze his strengths would wear on you. Because I know him so well already, and he would know me so well. But our situation is a lot different because he's just one of 10 other guys that I have to prepare for. Obviously he's someone that will catch my eye whenever he shows up on the film or whenever we're competing. But other than that, he's -- like Ronde said -- just another guy in a Buccaneer jersey this week.

R. BARBER: Venus and Serena's situation is entirely unique to them. They are two great players and on top of their profession without a doubt. So you know, the way they are seeded in some of the tournaments, the ideal final is Venus vs. Serena. To them it probably feels like a let-down because at the same time they are trying to win the event, but one of their best friends or maybe their best friend, I don't know how they interact, has got to lose. That's always difficult. Like I was telling you guys earlier, I am a Giants' fan because Tiki is on the Giants now. Without a doubt I want him to win every game he plays, but unfortunately, he's playing us this week and I need a win just as bad as he needs a win right now so we're conflicted in that sense. But it's not going to affect me from doing my job. I get paid to go out there and play 110% on any given day and I am going to do that regardless if I am playing Tiki or not.

Q. How often do you guys talk during a season and do you talk more when things are going good or bad?

R. BARBER: I definitely say the conversations are more interesting when things are going bad as they are now. We have a lot more to talk about. Granted, we don't get on the phone and talk a whole bunch of football, per se. We're grown men, both have families, you know, those type of issues permeate most of our conversations, but at the same time, we do address football. It's a whole lot easier to get on the phone to ask him how many yards did you have today in that win and you make anybody look bad? Rather than, you guys lost, oh, you fumbled twice, you jackass. We just have to deal with what we have to deal with. Q. What has been the most challenging thing that you both had to overcome in your athletic careers?

T. BARBER: I can answer this question two-fold. One, going back to high school and college and even for a few years in the NFL was people saying that I was too small to play this game and I didn't have the speed or I didn't have the size or the ability to make it on any level. I think that was one, but I think on a performance level it was probably my second year in the NFL when I struggled catching the ball. And being in New York, being under a microscope week in and week out, it does wear on you. Every week you're in a negative light. The only way you get through those things is you surround yourself with people who are going to be positive and encourage you and not criticize you and be cynical to you and that's where my brother and my mom and my wife, came in. They were such a big asset because they kept keeping my head up, kept me looking forward. I think in a lot of ways the struggles I have had early this year mirror that. I continue to keep my head up and to not let people downplay my abilities and I keep pushing forward and for the same exact reasons as I had back then.

R. BARBER: Obviously my first year in the league was pretty insignificant as far as playing time. I think I got on the field twice. That was my biggest challenge. I have had to deal with injuries, I have played through a bunch of them in my career. Wanting to be on the field and not having the opportunity to get on the field and do anything was about as frustrating as you can possibly imagine. Like Tiki said, the support group that you have family, close friends, guys that you absolutely trust on your team, those definitely -- that definitely got me through those times.

Q. What angle would you rather read if you were reading a story about yourself, different, close friends? What do you think hasn't been told yet about the twins?

R. BARBER: I don't know. It's funny me and Tiki, our agent Mark were talking about this as this week was coming up. We came back to the same thing, we don't want to see the same story again because it's been told in our hometown and our state and everywhere else. What people don't really get, obviously, and it's hard to even express it, but me and Tiki are not that similar. Other than the way we look, other than the way we carry ourselves, sometimes, we have different likes and dislikes, we have really different personalities. If you sit down with us for five minutes it's easy to see that. There's some uniqueness in that. I think most twins are like that. It's easy to say that oh, they look alike, they should be similar. In different regards of course we are; we grew up together. But, I think we're individuals. Without a doubt we're individuals. It comes out sometimes

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