The Buccaneers defense should follow Shaq Barrett’s lead this Sunday. Whether its about how to play football at high altitude. Tips on the playing surface at Mile High Stadium. How to face the Broncos in their house. When it comes to playing football in Colorado, the 7th year linebacker Shaquil Barrett has been there, and done that.
The Two Go Way Back
An All-State defensive lineman in high school, Barrett would attend Nebraska-Omaha college in 2010. When the school closed its football program, he would transfer to Colorado State University. He earned a starting job right away with the Rams and led the team in tackles his sophomore year. Barrett was named Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2013 after ranking fifth in the nation with 12 sacks and 20.5 tackles for a loss.
Undrafted in 2014, Barrett would receive interest from Pittsburgh, and the Denver Broncos. Choosing to sign with the Broncos. He would compete as a back-up linebacker and be waived during final cuts. He would sign back to the Broncos practice squad.
A Commitment To Excellence
Playing on the Broncos practice squad in 2014, Shaq wanted more. Making 100k and watching Broncos away games with wife Jordonna, and their three children was nice. But Barrett wanted to play on Sundays.
“I don’t like practicing and practicing and practicing and not being able to play at all,” Barrett said. “I think my reward for practicing is playing the game and being able to take out frustrations and hit people. But you really can’t do that if you just practice the whole time.”
Working out more and eating better during the offseason. He lost 10 pounds, built up his strength and improved his speed. Finishing the 2015 preseason with the most sacks on the team and eventually making the 53 man roster.
After five seasons on the Broncos, Shaq Barrett would sign a one year contract with Tampa Bay before the 2019 season. Nineteen and a half sacks, the Buccaneers single season sack record, and a franchise tag later brings us to 2020.
Shaq Barrett will play with the rest of the Buccaneers in Denver on Sunday. The team will look to continue to build on the victory last week over the Panthers. Now seated at #9 in the NFL Power Rankings, the Buccaneer defense will be doing their part to continue that rise.
This is a homecoming for the 2019 NFL sack leader. Familiar surroundings for the outside linebacker. The over achieving, undrafted, Buccaneer defender is right where he belongs. In the Tampa Bay front seven.