Ronde and Tiki Barber know a lot about brotherhood and football. But what about writing?

Turns out these University of Virginia graduates know something about that, too.

During the National Football League's offseason, the Barber brothers wrote, with Robert Burleigh, "By My Brother's Side." Ronde plays cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tiki is a running back for the New York Giants. The story tells of a bike accident when the twins were about 10 that could have meant the end of Tiki's football dreams. Tiki fell and broke his leg while popping a wheelie on a dirt hill.

"It was pretty dramatic at the time. We thought the world revolved around us, and all we thought about was that he'd never play again," Ronde said during a phone interview. "I'll probably never forget that moment."

The leg injury caused Tiki obvious problems, but the accident also affected Ronde. He had to face the world for the first time without his brother and he had to be strong enough to convince Tiki that he would be able to play football again.

After spending many afternoons daydreaming in their bedroom while staring at posters of Michael Jordan, Walter Payton and Bo Jackson, Tiki and Ronde decided they'd work together to get Tiki back in top form.

"It's kind of a hokey story, but it is what happened," Ronde says with a laugh.

Has Ronde's seven-minutes-younger brother returned the favor and helped him out of a tough situation?

Plenty of times, says Ronde. "My first year in the league [NFL], I sat out 17 of 18 games. . . . I knew he believed in me, though, and he gave me the patience to wait it out, and he was right."

Ronde was a Pro Bowl selection in 2001 and was part of Tampa's Super Bowl-winning team in 2003. Tiki played in the Super Bowl in 2001.

Both of the Barbers are married and have children of their own, so Ronde says they don't rely only on one another. But as soon as they are in the same room, it's like they never left each other's side.

-- Samantha Critchell,

Associated Press

Ronde Barber (No. 21 above and left) and his twin, Tiki, have written a book about their childhood.Ronde Barber Tiki Barber