Tiki Barber wants to play football again.
Four years after calling it quits, the former Giants star, now 35, filed papers to come out of retirement with the NFL yesterday and hopes to latch onto a team.
He won’t, however, return to the Giants, the franchise that still has him under contract. The team said yesterday that it will release him and “wishes him the best.”
Barber told FoxSports.com that twin brother Ronde, a star cornerback with the Tampa Bay Bucs, influenced his decision.
“After seeing how much fun Ronde is still having, it reignited my fire, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of seeing if I can get back to the level of where I was,” Barber said.
It’s likely, however, that money is behind the comeback.
In June, the New York Post reported that Barber was having financial problems after getting fired from NBC for cheating on his then-pregnant wife, Ginny, with a 23-year-old intern at the network.
The couple split, and Barber was having trouble making payments mandated by the settlement, the report said.
Teams may not be lining up to sign him, though. The Giants’ record holder for career rushing yardage hasn’t played since 2006 and will turn 36 next month.
Teams usually are hesitant to invest in older running backs who haven’t played in four years.
“I find this hilarious,” said blogger Ed Valentine of Big- BlueView.com. “And sad. And ridiculous. Of course, he has no career left doing anything else, so why not try to play football again?”
Former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce also said that he was skeptical.
“Can he do it four years later? I don’t think he can,” he said on ESPN’s “NFL Live.”
Other comeback kids
Michael Jordan: The NBA star retired and came back twice — in 1994 and in 2001. He returned to form in his first comeback with the Bulls, but his injury-marred second stint with the Wizards only lasted two seasons.
Sugar Ray Leonard: One of boxing’s greats had a string of retirements and comebacks beginning in 1982 at age 26. He lost a fight to Hector Camacho in 1997 and
hung up his gloves permanently.
Mario Lemieux: He retired in 1997 at age 31 after a Hall of Fame career as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ center. He came back to the Penguins in 2000 as a player-owner before leaving the ice for good in 2006 at age 40.
Lance Armstrong: After winning the Tour de France for seven consecutive years, he retired from cycling in 2005 at age 35. He returned in 2009 to raise awareness about cancer, but then he officially quit again last month.
Kim Clijsters: The 27-year-old Belgian has won three hardcourt major titles — including two U.S. Opens — since her 2009 return from a two-year layoff to start a family. Prior to her May 2007 retirement, she had only one Grand Slam title.
George Foreman: He stopped boxing in 1977 to become an ordained minister, but returned 10 years later at 38. During his comeback, he fought Evander Holyfield and hawked the George Foreman Grill. He won the title at 45 and retired for good in 1997.