From couch to field. Ok, that’s not really the case for running back Tiki Barber. For him, it’s more like from field to television back to field.
The former Giants running back who retired smack dab in the middle of the 2006 season is staging a comeback at the age of 35 (turns 36 in early April). He’s asked to be taken off the league’s reserve-retirement list, and says that he’s been working out like a fiend for the past month.
Barber is infamously known as the former Giant who criticized coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning for lacking leadership skills. It’s no surprise then that the Giants will release the back once roster transactions are allowed again. No team can make any moves during this extension of CBA talks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 2/1
New Orleans Saints – 3/1
Denver Broncos – 5/2
Washington Redskins – 5/1
Miami Dolphins – 15/2
New England Patriots – 10/1
New York Giants – 15/1
So what if Barber became a Denver Bronco? The ten year veteran certainly brings experience and consistency. In his ten years, he only missed six career games, and most of those were missed because of his decision to retire. His best years in the league were the five years before his decision to retire. He rushed for at least 1,200 yards, and had at least 461 receiving yards in those years. In his last five seasons, he also had 40 touchdowns.
His numbers are impressive, but the thing to question now is his heart and his age.
Former teammate and current ESPN analyst, Antonio Pierce, questioned Barber’s ability to help an NFL team.
“Tiki Barber the person, the leader, the person in that locker room, he’s not going to do anything for your team. Now, if that’s the guy you think you’re bringing in, you might want to look another direction because from personal experience, he didn’t do anything to help the Giants the last year. Especially in 2006 when he decided to retire in the middle of the season. And then months later, kind of questioned our quarterback and … our head coach at the time, coach (Tom) Coughlin. That’s my problem with Tiki Barber. The guy can play. Can he do it four years later? … I don’t think he can.” (USA Today).
The fact that he was disruptive to his team in the middle of the season, and was publicly critical of his coach and quarterback raises some red flags.
Would John Fox bring in a guy like Barber? He’s looking for a dual threat in the Denver backfield, but with other options out there (like DeAngelo Williams), Barber doesn’t look like such a great choice, being four years removed from NFL action.
Like the Broncos’ approach – “In with the new and out with the old” – Barber’s old legs can play somewhere else.
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