Plaxico Burress is not the only former New York Giant to make a return to the NFL next season, former Giant running back Tiki Barber confirmed that he too plans to return to football next season.
After a four year absence, the New York Giants’ career leading rusher Tiki Barber is returning to the league at a time where nothing is certain, the NFL is still in labor negotiations and there’s no guarantee that we’ll have a football season this year. The 36 year old, Barber, last played in the NFL during the 2006 season, retiring at the end of the season on bad terms calling out his coaches and his quarterback, Eli Manning, questioning their leadership and dedication to winning. The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl the following season without Barber.
After retiring from the NFL, Barber was working as a football analyst for NBC. What started as a promising new career ended with his firing shortly after, his divorce from his college sweetheart and a relationship with a 23 year old NBC intern which continues today, tarnishing his well-honed, family man image. It has been a road that has led him to depression, unable to deal with losing his $2 million per year job at NBC and the demise of his marriage, Barber has turned to football as his haven.
“I had gotten to the point where I was right where I wanted to be and I failed,” said Tiki Barber.
“I need to prove to myself that I can be successful at something, I know I’m going to be successful as a football player. I just do.” Tiki Barber’s comments during an HBO interview on how he’s dealing with his depression.
Now, Barber finds himself in daily workouts in New Jersey, working on a comeback.
The timing might be beneficial for Barber, since the ongoing lockout has prevented coaches from working out with their young running backs, there will be plenty of demand for a running back with the experience and versatility of Tiki Barber. His ability to make an immediate impact will also be a big plus amongst coaches. On the downside, his four year layoff can prove to be a heavy burden on him and it might take some time to get his rhythm back.
So, in a time where the NFL finds itself under so much uncertainty, the idea that a player of the caliber of Tiki Barber can come out of retirement at age 36 and produce in the NFL again is yet to be seen. Will he carry himself with the same professionalism and work ethic he has shown throughout his career? Yes, and that’s about as certain as anything gets in the NFL right now.
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