Summer 2024

Bucs LB Shaquil Barrett leaning on the Lord after losing 2-year-old daughter Arrayah

The physical and mental demands of training camp have provided a welcome distraction for Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett after an emotionally-draining three months. His 2-year-old daughter, Arrayah, drowned in the family’s pool April 30.

Monday was the first time since his daughter’s tragic death that Barrett spoke to the media.

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“She was the best,” said Barrett, who has three older children. “Like, she was literally the best at everything all around: smile, her personality. Even when she was being naughty, she still looked so cute. … She just brought so much brightness and wholeness and completeness to our lives.”

Barrett said that he and his wife, Jordanna, have relied on each other and their faith in God as they grieve and support their children simultaneously.

“It’s a daily battle, a tough battle. … It just comes in waves,” Barrett said. “We just talk to each other, talk through it with each other and just lean on each other to get ourselves through, and lean on the Lord as well.”

The two-time Pro Bowler is entering the third year of the four-year, $72 million deal he signed in 2021 to remain in Tampa Bay. Signed by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State in 2014, Barrett spent five seasons with the team before joining the Buccaneers in 2019. He led the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019, helped lead Tampa Bay win the Super Bowl in 2020, and made the Pro Bowl for the second time in 2021.

During Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl run, Barrett consistently gave glory to God. He said during a Super Bowl media session that he had started investing more in his relationship with God during the previous offseason.

“It just grounded me and made me realize what was important, and where I get the power from, where I get the strength to do all my daily activities, and then just the blessings that He keeps bestowing upon me and my family,” Barrett said. “It’s just amazing. I just want Him to know that. I want to give Him all the praise, honor and glory. That’s the reason why I’m able to do everything that I’m able to do on the field, off the field — it’s all because of Him.”

Two months after Arrayah’s passing, the Barretts announced they were expecting another baby girl. Jordanna put the news in an Instagram post and praised God for blessing them with a fifth child, who will be named Allanah.

“I serve a God who cares, a God who gives, a God who takes away, a God who comforts, and a God who unwavering loves us when we do not deserve it,” she wrote. “Thank you Jesus!”


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The family is also starting a foundation called “Arrayah Hope” that will provide free swim lessons to children. Barrett said Monday the plan is to begin in Tampa and eventually expand to Colorado because of his connections to the state.

He was fully cleared for training camp after tearing his Achilles in Week 8 last season, which marked the first time since his rookie year that Barrett appeared in fewer than 13 games.

The Buccaneers face the Pittsburgh Steelers in their preseason opener Aug. 11. They visit the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 of the regular season.

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