Five years after his retirement from the NFL, following a failed attempt at a broadcasting career and a scandalous divorce last
year, Tiki Barber is ready to be a comeback story… but it may be a short story for the highly criticized almost-36-year-old.
Next month Tiki Barber will turn 36-years-old, which is 150-years-old in running back years. But age is only a number that Tiki has preferred to ignore anyway, so he’s filed his papers to come back to football… assuming there will be football again.
The New York Giants hold the rights to Tiki as there are two years left on the contract he was under when he left the game after 10 seasons. To no one’s surprise, Big Blue will release him if/when the labor situation between the NFL and players’ union is settled.
“We all disagree with how he left and what he said,” Justin Tuck reminded the Daily News Tuesday. Translated to street talk, Tuck said “that mother****er ****in’ ****ed up,” which is, coincidentally, the name of Cee Lo Green’s next song.
Big Blue’s D has not defended Barber. Former teammate and Plaxico Burress shooting accomplice Antonio Pierce, now an ESPN analyst, reacted to the news by saying, “Tiki Barber, the football player, great player, will be very productive probably in certain situations, third-down, maybe can help out a young quarterback, some young running backs, depending on who it is.” But the endorsement didn’t translate when speaking of any value to the veteran running back’s presence. “Tiki Barber, the leader, the person in that locker room? He is not going to do anything for your team.”
Pierce continued to pierce (oh yeah, look at that) Tiki by bringing back the sentiments of the departure half a decade ago, “From personal experience, he didn’t do anything to help the Giants [in] 2006 when he decided to retire in the middle of the season and then months later question our quarterback and our head coach. That is my problem with Tiki Barber.”
Fans haven’t backed the back either (oh yeah, that’s some New York Post writing there). When the Giants revealed the first 30 members of their Ring of Honor at halftime of their October 3 game last year, Barber was booed.
Revenge has, however, been successfully accomplished already. The Giants experienced the phenomenal sports victory upsetting the undefeated New England Patriots in Superbowl 42 in 2007, the year after Tiki retired.
While the Giants were having their improbable season following Tiki’s retirement, Barber began a career as a broadcaster and all-around television slut. He took his family on Celebrity Family Feud, was the ‘mobile shout out’ on an episode of Cash Cab, in which he incorrectly answered a question about literature (obviously, his major reading experiences are playbooks and off teleprompters), was featured in an episode of Project Runway, played a drill sergeant who was killed
(career foreshadowing?) in an episode of Knight Rider, had a cameo in a Dave Matthews Band video, and appeared “as himself” in multiple episodes of the children’s series, The Electric Company. The most notable television work of his, of course, was a correspondent job on the morning program Today on NBC. The network also gave him time on Football Night in America/Sunday Night Football so that he could display his football “expertise” to the world. He was fairly quiet in that role.
Tiki’s TV career was torched (ay-yo!) after news spread that Tiki was ending his 11-year marriage to his very attractive pregnant wife due to an affair he was having with a 23-year-old college student/former NBC intern. Eventually his overnight stays in her dorm room became public knowledge because who the hell does that? Get a damn hotel room, jeez. What’s wrong with people?
This lack of logistical thinking led to a quiet demise as he was let go from NBC when they failed to renew his $300,000 per year contract and dropped him from Today.
Last March, Tiki spoke of the power of public image and celebrity branding by saying “everyone should conduct themselves as if they’re a brand. In this world of hyper social-media awareness, having a [scandalous, moral-free] personal life isn’t really an option.”
It’s clear that things have not gone so well for Tiki since he retired for football. In an attempt to get the glory days back, he decided to go back to football.
Tiki cites his twin brother as an inspiration for his decision. Ego, money and a failed 2nd career in broadcasting were not disclosed as reasons, because it’s too obvious to mention.
However, with a damaged reputation, years away from the game and elderly status for his position, the attempt to return to football may only work out as well as one of his TV cameos.