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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Well-Ronded Athlete

Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber puts his myriad of athletic skills on display in the Snapple Superstars competition


Ronde Barber wasn't vacationing in Jamaica - he was competing in the 2001 Snapple Superstars event

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed free agent cornerback Ronde Barber in April, they knew they were retaining one of the team's most versatile athletes.

Even so, they may have underestimated the range of his skills.

The same athletic talents that allowed Barber to amass not only two interceptions last season but 5.5 sacks, 97 tackles, 20 passes defensed and two touchdowns apparently also come in handy for weightlifting, swimming, sprinting and racing Sea-Doo watercraft.

Or do they? You can find out this Sunday, May 27, when ABC airs The 2001 Snapple Superstars at 3:30 p.m. EDT, following the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500. Barber was one of 12 competitors in this year's event, giving him a chance to try his hand at the above challenges and a few others.

"It was fun," said Barber. "It was actually kind of tiring, though. It works you a little more than I anticipated. Being able to compete and have fun and actually have a chance to win was pretty cool."

The Superstars competition has its own lengthy history, as this is the 28th year ABC has staged the event, which brings athletes from across the sporting spectrum into direct competition. National Football League players such as Barber have historically done well in the event.

Previous high-profile NFL winners include Mark Gastineau (1985), Herschel Walker ('87, '88), Willie Gault ('89, '90), and Jason Sehorn, who won the competition in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Sehorn did not compete in the 2001 Superstars, but his New York Giants teammate and Ronde's twin brother, running back Tiki Barber, did.

The field of 12 athletes included seven NFL athletes, if newly-drafted Carolina QB Chris Weinke, the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner from Florida State, is counted. The rest of the NFL contingent included Giants LB Jessie Armstead, San Francisco WR Terrell Owens, Chicago LB Brian Urlacher and Baltimore LB Ray Lewis, the 2000 Super Bowl MVP.

Rounding out the 2001 Superstars field were Miami Heat G/F Dan Majerle, WBC Welterweight Champion 'Sugar' Shane Mosley, Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg and Olympic Gold Medal skiers Alberto Tomba and Herman Maier

Barber joined his brother in Montego Bay, Jamaica for the competition, which spanned three days and was hosted by Brent Musberger, Lynn Swann and Todd Harris. Originally, Barber only planned to attend the event in order to support his brother and take a vacation, but the absence of one of the original competitors pushed him into the competition.

He turned out to be a formidable fill-in. Though the results of the 2001 Superstars won't be revealed before Sunday's two-hour telecast, Buccaneer fans should tune in expecting Barber to at least fall into the 'win, place or show' category.

"I did well," said Barber. "You can say that I beat Tiki. Tiki knows that I'm a better athlete than he is anyway. I did as well as I could."

After tweaking his brother, Barber added with a smile: "I just happen to be in outstanding shape, so that helped me out a little bit."

The Snapple Superstars competition consists of ten events: swimming, weightlifting, kayaking, bowling, Sea-Doo racing, cycling, basketball shoot-out, half-mile run, 100-yard dash and The Superstars signature event, the obstacle course. Each athlete must compete in seven of the ten events (not the sport in which they excel) and the competitor with the highest combined score earns the title of The Snapple Superstars champion. More than $150,000 in prize money is awarded to the competitors.

Barber elected to skip kayaking, since he had never attempted that sport before, and bowling, as he felt it wasn't much of a test of athleticism. He also admitted to a less-than-NBA-quality jumpshot in choosing to skip the basketball shootout. However, he proved to be quite successful in the popular obstacle course event.

And what did Barber do upon returning to Tampa after three days of athletic competition under the Jamaican sun? On Monday morning, a week later, he hit the links to compete in Derrick Brooks' golf tournament, as Barber is one of the most accomplished golfers on the Bucs' roster.

Like we said, versatile.

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