Are You Surprised Tiki Barber Hasn’t Received A Call From An NFL Team Yet?
Tiki Barber is one of the best running backs in NFL history. Before retiring from the New York Giants in 2006, he became the leading rusher in franchise history by amassing 10,449 rushing yards. That was good enough to earn him the 22nd best rushing total in league history. So, it’s no wonder that Barber’s agent Mark Lepselter is a little bit surprised that he hasn’t landed a tryout with an NFL team since announcing his intentions to return to the NFL last spring.
“We are flabbergasted that Tiki has not had an opportunity with any team, especially when rosters were at 90 players this year,” Lepselter told Sports Illustrated recently. “I certainly thought some team would be intrigued to see what he had left in the tank.”
According to SI, the Miami Dolphins are the only team that has worked Barber out since the NFL lockout ended, and no teams showed any interest in inviting him to training camp this summer despite the fact that, as Lepselter points out, NFL teams were allowed to invite a larger pool of players to camp than ever before. So even we have to agree with Lepselter here: It is surprising that no one decided to give Barber a shot to see if he could help improve their team.
But, should we really be all that surprised? For starters, it’s no secret that Barber underwent a very public split from his ex-wife recently that’s forced him to reevaluate his financial situation. It’s also no secret that Barber started a relationship with a former NBC intern shortly after deciding to call it quits with his wife—a decision that basically eliminated his hopes of becoming a big-time broadcaster with NBC for the foreseeable future. And Barber’s also no spring chicken, which means he couldn’t be a reliable running back for any NFL team at this point in his career.
Yet, we are a little surprised that one of the NFL’s less marketable teams didn’t bring Barber in for a look solely to get some positive press out of it. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, and Houston Texans are all teams that could have benefitted from talking to Tiki’s people and getting him in for a workout. It might not have worked out in the long run, but at the very least, it would have shown that they were looking at all of their options when it came to trying to get better. It also would have shone some light onto each organization and put them front and center in the sports section of most of the nation’s newspapers for at least a day or two.
Maybe the lack of interest in Barber says something about the way the NFL feels about him right now, though. Even at the lowest point of his career, when he would try out for anyone and do just about anything to get back out onto the football field, teams aren’t willing to give him a shot. It might be all the off-the-field stuff that’s keeping them away—or they might just be afraid that they’d be wasting their time by looking towards Barber to improve their teams. But, whatever the case, Barber’s career is likely over.
Does that surprise us? A little bit. But, are we “flabbergasted” like Lepselter? Eh, not really. If Barber wanted to play football, he had the chance to do it—five years ago. Now, teams are seeing his ploy for what it’s worth: A cash grab that’s likely not going to help any of the 32 NFL teams out there, whether that’s really the case or not. Sorry, Tiki, but your reputation is preceding you right now. You made your bed when you left the Giants, now sleep in it. And hope that some NFL team out there gets desperate enough to try and wake you up.