TAMPA, Fla. — Emotions were running high for Tampa Bay outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett after the Buccaneers’ 27-17 victory against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Barrett’s first career interception return for a touchdown sealed the win for the Bucs (2-0) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. He dedicated the pick-six to the memory of his 2-year-old daughter, who died nearly five months ago after drowning in the family’s pool at their Tampa residence.
“It never stops. It’s always going to suck,” Barrett told reporters after the game. “Camera was on me after I made the play. Told her ‘I love you, miss you, wish you was here.’ And so, I’m glad I’m able to still get some spotlight for her and to the Lord above because he’s the reason why we’re here right now and just trust in his plan, and no matter what it is, it works for good, so I’m just trusting in that and just going through every day trusting and believing that.”
Arrayah Barrett died on April 30. The child had fallen into the pool at about 9:30 a.m., according to the Tampa Police Department. She was taken to an area hospital and despite life-saving measures was pronounced dead a short time later, ESPN reported.
Shaquil Barrett, 30, a nine-year NFL veteran who is playing in his fifth season with the Bucs, said his daughter’s death was weighing on him and he struggled to take the field when Tampa Bay opened its season last week in Minnesota.
“Literally, last week before the game I was struggling,” Barrett told the Tampa Bay Times. “Then I was struggling real bad. I couldn’t stop crying. I called my wife, and some of the coaches checked in on me. Then like out of the blue, everything just went away and I was able to focus on a game. My wife says people pray for me, and I actually felt that wave of emotions slide to the side, and I was actually able to focus.”
Barrett’s interception came shortly before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, with the Bucs clinging to a 20-17 lead. Barrett snatched a screen pass from Bears quarterback Justin Fields at the Chicago 4-yard line and pushed his way into the end zone for the game-clinching touchdown. It was the third interception of his career.
At the time of her death, Arrayah Barrett was the youngest of Shaquil Barrett’s four children, ESPN reported. Shaquil Barrett and his wife, Jordanna, were high school sweethearts, the Times reported. Their other children are Shaquil Jr., Braylon and Aaliyah.
Barrett and his wife, Jordanna, are expecting a baby girl in February 2024, WTVT reported. They plan to name her Allanah, according to the television station.