Four years after Tiki Barber walked away from football, he’s planning a return. But it won’t be with the Giants.
The former running back has filed paperwork to come out of retirement, but the Giants still hold his rights and Barber has two years remaining on his last contract with the team. A league source has told Newsday's Bob Glauber that the Giants plan on releasing Barber and allowing him to pursue his comeback with any of the other 31 teams in the NFL.
Barber is the Giants’ all-time leading rusher with 10,449 yards and 55 touchdowns, but he has not endeared himself to the franchise or fans of the team with comments made throughout his four years as a broadcaster that included knocks against Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin. At a Ring of Honor ceremony at New Meadowlands Stadium last fall, Barber was loudly booed.
Early candidates to express interest in Barber include two former Giants assistant coaches – John Fox in Denver and Sean Payton in New Orleans – as well as the Bucs where his twin brother Ronde still plays. It was Ronde, Barber told FOXSports.com, that made his consider a comeback.
“After seeing my brother still have fun at our age, it reignited the fire,” Barber said. “I'm really looking forward to the challenge of seeing if I can get back to the level of where I was. I started working out again recently. It kind of shocked myself. I still had a lot of the strength I had before. I'm really looking forward to making a return."
Barber is 12th all-time with 15,632 yards from scrimmage and his five career 200-yard rushing games are the second most in NFL history.
Barber’s last season was 2006, in which he ran for 1,662 yards and five touchdowns. He made his plans for retirement to pursue a career in broadcasting public midway through that season, an act many considered a distraction to the team. The following season the Giants won Super Bowl XLII.
Barber will turn 36 next month.