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News from N.Y. brings loss and relief to Bucs

Ronde Barber gets good news; Dave Moore fears the worst.

By ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 12, 2001


TAMPA -- While the country watched in shock, trying to comprehend Tuesday's tragedies in New York and Washington, at least two members of the Buccaneers had more pressing concerns than whether the NFL would cancel this weekend's games.

Veteran tight end Dave Moore and cornerback Ronde Barber spent most of Tuesday morning trying to locate family members who live and work in New York City.

When reached early Tuesday, Moore, a native of Morristown, N.J., said he could not account for "about 20 family and extended family members" who worked in and commuted through Manhattan and nearby cities in New Jersey.

Late Tuesday night, Moore received good and bad news: All but one member of his extended family was accounted for.

A cousin of Moore's wife, Anne Marie, a New York City firefighter, was in the World Trade Center when it collapsed. Moore said he and most of his unit are presumed dead. He added that the firefighters had been to a number of Bucs games as guests of the Moore family.

Moore said initially he was very troubled about his older brother, Peter, who works in Manhattan. Moore said he finally received a call from his brother around noon.

Moore, who heard the news of the bombings while visiting All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, said he spent part of the morning watching television with patients and talking about the tragedy.

"I was in the hospital, and that's already a humbling experience, and then this happens," he said. "It certainly puts things in perspective for me. Football is just a game. We're talking about the loss of life here."

For parts of Tuesday morning, Barber was concerned about twin brother Tiki, a star running back for the New York Giants.

The Giants played in Denver on Monday night and arrived in New York early Tuesday morning. Ronde Barber said his brother lives on the upper east side, about 80 blocks from the World Trade Center.

"For a while, it was nerve-racking," Barber said from his home. "I finally spoke to him about 11 a.m. and he said he was fine. The problem is that where he is, there was no way for him to leave."

Barber said the events were hard to comprehend.

"I'm in a state of shock," he said. "This is something like out of a movie. You can't put anything beyond the minds of people in this world. There are too many demented people in this world."

Tuesday was the customary day off for NFL players, but as news of the tragedy spread, a number of the Bucs wondered what effect it would have on this weekend's games.

The NFL said it likely will wait 24 to 48 hours before deciding whether to play this weekend.

"This is bigger than anything that ever could happen on a football field," cornerback Brian Kelly said. "This is Pearl Harbor of the 21st century. This is bigger than Pearl Harbor. You don't know what this could lead to.

"It brings us back to reality. I could see it being very hard for a number of players to have their minds on football, on the game over the next few days. It's really sad."

Pro Bowl cornerback Donnie Abraham, who took his children out of school, said it took him a while to fully comprehend the magnitude of the day's events.

"When I first heard the news, it really didn't sink in," Abraham said. "I didn't know what to think. But, as more and more stuff started happening, it started to sink in.

"This is huge. It is really mind-boggling that something like this could happen in the United States."

Abraham said thinking about Sunday's home opener against the Eagles shouldn't be a priority.

"This is our country, our life. Football is nonexistent when things like this happen," Abraham said. "It's going to cause a chain reaction. We are going to get to the bottom of this and it could mean war. In the great scheme of things, football doesn't matter to most of the nation. "Who knows what will happen next."

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