In a big moment in Sunday’s game, Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett intercepted a pass from Bears quarterback Justin Fields, running it back four yards for a touchdown.
But this wasn’t just any touchdown for Barrett. It was a heartfelt dedication to his late daughter, Arrayah.
Four months ago, the Barrett family tragically lost 2-year-old Arrayah in a pool drowning accident at their Tampa home on April 30.
The linebacker has dedicated this season to her memory, despite facing odds due to his recovery from a torn Achilles suffered in Week 8 of the previous season.
“I told her, ‘I love you, miss you and wish she was here,’ Barrett said.
Shaq Barrett pick-six! Huge play for the @Buccaneers
— NFL (@NFL) September 17, 2023
Coach Todd Bowles expressed his admiration for Barrett’s resilience, saying, “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’s family, including his wife Jordanna, who is expecting a baby daughter named Allanah early next year, have been supporting one another through these difficult times.
While the family navigates the grief process, there are moments that remain challenging. Barrett shared that he had a particularly difficult time just before the Bucs’ Week 1 opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
“I was struggling real bad. I couldn’t stop crying,” Barrett admitted, crediting the power of prayer for helping him focus on the game.
Barrett believes that Sunday’s touchdown was the result of divine intervention, marking the first touchdown of his nine-year NFL career.
“I believe so for sure,” Barrett said. “And then just talking, talking to God all the time. I just know He don’t give us nothing more than we can handle even though it felt like He did for sure. He said He’s just setting us up for something… I’m going to believe in Him and believe in this plan for sure, and I do feel like it was divine intervention to be able to just get that spotlight for my baby girl.”
In a game that showcased both his athletic ability and his emotional strength, Shaq Barrett honored his late daughter Arrayah in a touching and unforgettable way.