Tiki Barber Coming Out of Retirement, Wants to Play Again
Tiki Barber took the Barry Sanders approach to an NFL career. Rather than sticking around and continuing to take a beating while his stats dwindled with each passing year, the Giants all-time leading rusher walked away from the game on top. His 1662 rushing yards the season before he retired was the second-highest total of his career. After taking the last four seasons off, Barber is looking to make an NFL return.
Jay Glazer confirmed with Barber and his agent, Mark Lepselter, on Tuesday that Tiki has filed papers to come out of retirement and wants to play again. People will likely make the Brett Favre connection when talking about Barber’s decision, but let’s keep in mind that Tiki didn’t put on a dramatic production when he called it quits and fake retirement on several different occasions.
Barber told Glazer that the fact that his twin brother is still playing fueled his desire to attempt a comeback. “After seeing how much fun Ronde (Barber) is still having it re-ignited my fire and I’m looking forward to the challenge of seeing if I can get back to the level of where I was,” he said before adding that the Giants will have to reactivate him and then decide whether to release or keep him.
Normally, running backs don’t just leave the game for four seasons and pick up where they left off at age 31. The major difference between Ronde and Tiki is Ronde is a cornerback, meaning Tiki took more of a beating in 10 seasons than Ronde has taken in 15. The Giants have completely moved on from Barber, winning a Super Bowl the year after he left. It is highly unlikely they will keep him on board.
However, there will probably be opportunities for Tiki to play if he can prove he is still in good physical condition, which will be no easy task going on age 36. With the way the NFL has transitioned into a running back-by-committee league, there will likely be a team willing to take a chance on the veteran presence Barber can bring and maybe even give him a few touches. The most likely scenario: Tiki waited about two or three years too long to make his return.