Tiki Barber is preparing to return to the NFL, and the New York Giants will free him to sign where ever he wants. The early indications are that Barber wants to play alongside his brother Ronde in Tampa Bay, although the Bucs may not be interested.
Joe Carini, Tiki’s longtime trainer, told Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger that Tiki is in great shape and will absolutely be able to play in the NFL this year at the age of 36.
“I’m telling you, he’s ready to go,” Carini said.
So where is Barber ready to go to?
“He did mention maybe possibly going down to Tampa by his brother, which would make sense,” Carini said. “The whole thing is this: I don’t know if anybody’s going to say, ‘Hey Tiki, you’re going to be the feature back, maybe the third-down back, a situational guy.’ But who’s to say? If he gets with the right team, I’m going to be getting him in shape.”
It sounds like the Bucs’ interest, however, is lukewarm. Bucs coach Raheem Morris (who can’t really say much about Tiki until he’s officially been cut free by the Giants) seems only lukewarm in his interest in having both Barber brothers on his team.
“He’s one of those guys who doesn’t know when he’s going to run out of gas,” Morris said of Tiki, per Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times. “It happens to all of us. It happens to the best of us. But if he’s got a little bit left, I encourage him to doing it. Highly. You know me, we always discuss those guys who can help us. Obviously, we haven’t been going in that direction and coming off the layoff and all that stuff and where it’s going to go, where our young football team is, I don’t know if we have the ability to do that. I’m sure he can help someone, if not us, if it ever came to that.”
So Morris isn’t going to write Tiki off, but the Barber brothers playing together for the first time in the NFL probably isn’t going to happen.