Tiki Barber alienated Giants, can’t come back to them after way he retired and criticized team on TV

March 9th, 2011 by Staff


www.nydailynews.com – There was a better chance of Tom Coughlin calling up Frank Gifford – who happens to be 80 – to coax him out of retirement than the Giants coach letting Tiki Barber walk back into the Big Blue locker room and poison it again.

The Giants quickly put an end to any speculation about them being the landing spot for Barber’s longshot comeback bid by announcing that they will cut him the second a new collective bargaining agreement is signed and the waiver wire is back in business.

“Somebody might give him a tryout. Nobody is going to give him any money,” one GM said Tuesday night. “I wouldn’t even acknowledge it. I would rather read the cartoons. What running back plays at 36? Who wants to bring a guy in for one year?”

Barber will be 36 next month and has been out of football two years longer than Muhammad Ali was out of boxing before he made his comeback. Barber’s last game that mattered was in a wild-card playoff loss to the Eagles at the end of the 2006 season. One year later, the Giants won the Super Bowl without him.

It’s sad that Barber is going to try to play again. This isn’t Brett Favre waffling every year or Roger Clemens showing up halfway through a season. Barber retired much too soon and has missed the last four NFL seasons.

He walked right off the field and into the NBC studios and was supposed to be a star on the “Today” show and the network’s NFL pregame show. Neither of those gigs lasted long. Then came word last year that he was splitting with his wife Ginny while she was pregnant with twins – he already had two children. His most high-profile media work lately has been doing webcasts for Yahoo!

“I would predict a disaster, that he wouldn’t make it,” one NFL personnel director said. “At 36, you lose that little step of quickness that keeps you from getting killed.”

Maybe this is all about playing with his brother Ronde in Tampa, which would be a dream for the Barber family, if nobody else, or maybe it’s about the money since his television career has bottomed out and he’s going through a divorce. Maybe he’s just bored.

“I’m sure he can help someone, if not us, if it ever came to that,” Bucs coach Raheem Morris said.

The personnel director said it would be dumb for the Bucs to sign Tiki because if they cut him, it would upset Ronde, who just signed a one-year, $4 million contract to play his 15th season.

It was a mistake for Barber to retire when he did – he was among the two or three best running backs in his final year in the league. He played 10 years in the NFL and was getting better with age: He rushed for 1,860 and 1,662 yards, respectively, in his final two seasons – the best of his career.


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