The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chicago Bears on Sunday, in part thanks to linebacker Shaquil Barrett’s pick-six. The interception return for a touchdown capped off a 27-17 Bucs victory as they improved to 2-0 on the young 2023 NFL season.
After the game, Barrett said the interception was much more than six points for the team. In April, Barrett’s 2-year-old daughter Arrayah drowned in a pool, and the NFL veteran said she was on his mind when he stepped into the end zone.
I always play for my family already, but then having that extra incentive, it makes me want to go a little harder for her,” Barrett said (via the team’s official website).
He commented on the emotions that followed the tragedy and the way he is able to honor her on the field.
“It never stops sucking,” Barrett said of losing his daughter. “It is always going to suck, but to be able to shine a spotlight on her a little bit and when the camera was on me after I made the play, I told her, ‘I love you. I miss you. Wish you were here.’ I am glad I am able to still get some spotlight for her and to the Lord above because He is the reason we are here right now. I am just trusting His plan.”
Barrett has dedicated this season to his late daughter, and already with a sack and a pick-six, the 30-year-old pass rusher is already making it a good one, just two weeks into the season.
Bucs head coach Todd Bowles commended Barrett for being able to play at such a high level while grieving from the horrible events this offseason.
“It’s unbelievable. You can’t even fathom going through something like that,” Bowles said of Barrett. “To see him go through it and come out on the other side — and I’m sure he still has days — but to play like he’s playing right now, to be where he is right now is unbelievable.”
Barrett tore his Achilles in Week 8 of the 2022 season and appears to have recovered well, given his play so far.
Next week, he and the Buccaneers will face the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles on “Monday Night Football.”