>Tuesday Lunch: The Return of Tiki Barber?

Posted: March 8, 2011 in nbc, nfl
Tags: , , , , ,

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By Will Robinson

As I was getting up and preparing for my day, I noticed a particularly interesting tweet. Adam Schefter reported that Tiki Barber, yes, the four years removed from the NFL Tiki Barber, filed paperwork to be reinstated into the league. Clearly, I’m not in the mind if Tiki, but I could speculate as to why he is making a return to America’s game.

 

 

Barber will be 36 years old by the time the season should start (sorry for that negative conditional phrase, but a new CBA had yet to be agreed upon), which is beyond any current running back’s age. He wouldn’t start for any team, or be the feature back, but rarely do teams now exclusively use one running back. His body is not as torn up as some of his contemporaries AND he led the NFL in rushing yards last time he suited up. Thirty four year old Plaxico Burress is coming out of prison in June – could they have both on the roster? I highly doubt it. The New York Giants have his rights, but it’s hard to believe they would keep him with three other solid, young backs on the roster. There is mere speculation that Barber would go to Tampa Bay and finally achieve the dream he and his brother share, Ronde, of playing with together. No matter where he who he would play for, he should be used sparingly, but could be effective.

 

There aren’t many cases of a running back having decent success at 36, but it’s not impossible for Braber. Hall of Famer Marcus Allen turned in an 830 yard season at 36; John Riggins compiled 677 in an injury ridden season; and random dude MacArthur Lane got 277 yards in 1978. I think Barber could be an effective asset to whatever team picks him up, as his last three years that he played were by far his most productive.

 

The interesting thing about this case is the incentive Barber has for coming back. Sports Illustrated writer Peter King indicated on Twitter today that he never got the impression Barber wanted to come back while working with him on NBC. I mean, he COULD have seriously concealed his urge to get back on the field, or he could have changed reasonable changed his mind throughout time. A story broke out earlier this year; about how Barber left his pregnant wife for an NBC staffer he had sustained an affair with over a long period time. NBC fired him for violating a morals clause in his contract, and hasn’t really been seen publically since. With an impending divorce, alimony payments and child support could hit Barber in his pocket. This could be a money grab for him; a few million more bucks in his pocket would definitely help.

 

Barber’s return is obviously pending the CBA situation being resolved. My guess is that even though his body hasn’t endured that many miles, as he didn’t really play into his thirties, Barber will be back for one more season. I would find it extremely hard to believe if Barber plays during the 2012 season. Then again, there are breakthroughs every day in recovery time and training that could prolong any players’ career. Look at some of the NBA’s stars, such as Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, and Dirk Nowitzki, who have all had long careers and are still playing at an elite level far into their careers. Only time will tell with Tiki, and if he doesn’t get signed by anyone, this could have been a ploy to get back some media recognition again. But who knows.

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