Greetings from Tampa.
Woke up at 6:30 a.m. to rain. Then it stopped. Then it poured. Then it poured harder. Now it's merely rain. And lightning. Too bad. Saturday the weather was sunny and perfect like Florida is supposed to be when I'm here.
Got in elevator at Tampa hotel Saturday and four guys wearing Panther colors got in at the same time. Two guys already on the elevator said: "No Panther fans allowed."
They were kidding. They had made the trip from Charlotte, too.
Later I was sitting in the hotel courtyard and a guy at a nearby table, who was part of a group, picked up a bullhorn and summoned a guy wearing a Panther T-shirt. Who turns down a bullhorn? Think it only works on guys, though.
Guy with the bullhorn was from Charlotte.
The hotel, which is on the Riverwalk, is my favorite in Tampa. Great rate this weekend, as discerning Panther fans have discovered. I've only seen two Buccaneer shirts since I checked in.
Ronde Barber, 37, will start at free safety today for Tampa Bay. The Bucs drafted him with the 66th pick in the 1997 draft. Bucs took four players before Barber -- running back Warrick Dunn (12th), receiver Reidel Anthony (16th), tackle Jerry Wunsch (37th) and guard Frank Middleton (63rd).
Remember who the Panthers took?
With the 27th pick they drafted wide receiver Rae Carruth. With the 56th pick they drafted safety Mike Minter.
Only one player other than Barber is active. Tight end Tony Gonzalez, whom Kansas City took with the 13th pick, is still catching passes.