ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — It is homecoming season in high school football. But nothing could top the homecoming of a newly minted Pro Football Hall of Famer. Ronde Barber came back to his alma mater of Cave Spring High School last Friday during the Knights homecoming game. Fans of the Roanoke, Virginia native showed up in full force to see one of their own. the hall of famer spent the night signing autographs and taking pictures. The biggest thing for Ronde, he is proud back to be home.
“It started right here on these fields in rec league and in middle school, playing here at Cave Spring High School playing all of those games here in this stadium. It is not lost on me here when I come back and realize that I am who I am because of Roanoke, Virginia,” said Barber.
“Validation….He worked for, it is something that had been valued for him. He had teammates that earned it and he always believe his time is coming,” said Ronde’s mom Geraldine Brickhouse Barber-Hale.
“This has been one of those things where you have watched a kid grow and developed and go through adversity and on the high school level the professional level and he is such a great message for our young people,” said Ronde’s high school football coach Steve Spangler.
It took a long time for Barber to get his just due and take his rightful place in Canton, Ohio. Overall his patience and hard work has paid off.
“We know that there is a cue to get into the hall of fame. Only 5 modern guys go in every year, there are only 371 of the 25,000 or so that have played professional football so you realize the wait of it and the honor that goes along with it and the responsibility of being a representative that has ever played,”
Before the Cave Spring homecoming game Friday night, Roanoke County(Va.) Public Schools recognized Barber with a few honors including a bronzed plaque that will be placed in front of Bogle Stadium. Officials say the plaque will serve as an inspiration for all players now and in the future that they too can dream big.
“Roanoke is my support system. I have a lot of friends and I have a lot of friends in Charlottesville obviously. Tampa is now my home. I come back here and it feels like I never left even though it looks totally different. But this is still where I am from and I appreciate it and love it here,” said Barber.
Ronde will receive another honor Monday night during halftime of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers home game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He will get his ring of excellence from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.