Barber has tough assignment

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:19 PM ET

TAMPA BAY - There’s really no way you can stop Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez.

The best you can hope for is to slow him down, cut down on his after-the-catch yardage.

Gonzalez, a future Hall of Famer, had seven catches and two touchdowns last week in the Falcons victory over Philadelphia and in the process moved into fifth spot on the all-time receptions list with 1,081.

One of the Bucs who will be given the task to cut down on Gonzalez’ receptions will be veteran corner Ronde Barber, a veteran of 15 seasons himself and the only player in NFL history to have 26 sacks and 40 interceptions in his career.

“He’s hell to deal with,” Barber said of Gonzalez. “As he’s gotten older, he’s gotten smarter, I think.

“He definitely runs his routes a little better. He’s a great player — the best I’ve ever played against at the position.”

In seven career games against Tampa Bay, Gonzalez has 45 receptions for 470 yards and one touchdown.


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