ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As Ronde Barber takes his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this Saturday. His road to glory all got started here in Roanoke. During his playing days at Cave Spring, one of his high school rivals became one of his closest friends in Northside graduate and fellow UVA teammate Walt Derey.
These days you see former Northside athlete Walt Derey giving his football knowledge as an assistant at Patrick Henry. But nearly 30 years ago, he was on the field going up against a future hall of famer and Super Bowl Champion in Ronde Barber. Walt’s friendship with Ronde and his twin brother Tiki was unexpected.
“Back then if you were not on my team we didn’t like each other so it was fun that once we got to UVA we instantly became good friends, being from the same town we became really good buddies,” said Derey.
Walt says when Ronde got the call about going to Canton…he was overwhelmed with joy.
Saturday will be even more special.
“Ronde is a pretty understated guy. He doesn’t show a lot of emotion and I can tell it meant a lot. You know it was hard work. I don’t think people realize what it takes to get into the Hall of Fame. A lot of people fighting for you. His Tampa Bay people and his college people you know just a lot of people that are trying to get him recognized for what the type of player he was. Just a wholistic person and a football player and I can tell it was something that was a grind and well deserved,” said Derey.
Derey shared that he is on the way to Canton, Ohio on Friday for Saturday’s induction ceremony. In fact, Ronde’s twin brother Tiki will be inducting him.
Ronde and the rest of the Class of 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame will get their gold jackets during a special ceremony Friday night.