INDIANAPOLIS — Auburn running back Peyton Barber says part of the reason he left school early to enter the NFL draft was because of his mother was “homeless.”
Barber, who is from Alpharetta, Georgia, is one of 24 running backs at the NFL combine this week, working out for scouts and coaches. He ran for 1,073 yards and 13 touchdowns last season as a third-year sophomore, but his decision to forgo his remaining two years of college eligibility was unexpected.
“My mother is homeless right now,” Barber said. “Right now, she’s staying with her sister. It’s her and her three kids staying in an apartment back home.”
The 5-foot-11, 225-pound Barber said his mother, Lori, never pressured him to go pro.
“I just decided to do what’s best for me and my family,” he said. “It’s just a little bump in the road for us. We’ll overcome it.”
“Homelessness is a strong definition,” Lori Barber told AL.com. “Do I have a home of my own? I do not. Do I have a bed of my own? I don’t. Where we’re living is a little crowded, but we’re making it work. We’re taking our 50 cents and stretching it out to make it a dollar.”
Barber, whose cousins Marion and Dominique played in the NFL, is projected to be a middle-round pick in April’s draft. He originally struggled with the playbook at Auburn because of ADHD and dyslexia and considered transferring after not winning the starting job in 2013 or 2014. But he was voted Auburn’s offensive MVP in 2015, although he wasn’t used as often late in the season as Jovon Robinson became a primary ball carrier.