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Former Giants teammates have different views on Tiki’s return

File photo of runningback Tiki Barber in Philadelphia Reuters

Receiver Plaxico Burress isn’t the only former Giant who’ll be returning to the NFL in 2011.  In addition to the guy who shot his gun off in a Manhattan nightclub, a player known for shooting his mouth off wants to play again.  And while it looks unlikely that Burress will be back with Big Blue, it’s even more unlikely that Tiki Barber will ever wear the lower case ‘n’ and ‘y’ on his helmet.

Barber, who retired one year too early (then again, perhaps the Giants wouldn’t have won Super Bowl XLII if Tiki was still on the team), has decided to do after four seasons out of the game that which many believed Barry Sanders eventually would do.  And Barber had become almost as effective as Sanders in the final years of Tiki’s career, with three straight years of more than 2,000 yards rushing and receiving.  (Sanders only accomplished that feat twice in his career — including the season in which he rushed for more than 2,000 yards.)

Barber’s former teammates have differing opinions regarding his return.  Former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce, who was more than hip deep in the incident that resulted in Plaxico’s incarceration, advocates a “buyer beware” position.  “He’s not going to do anything for your team,” Pierce tells L. Jon Wertheim in an intriguing new profile of Barber that appears in the new issue of Sports Illustrated.

Former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan disagrees.  “He didn’t leave because he was a beat-up bum on the end of the bench,” Strahan tells Wertheim.  “Let me tell you, he worked.  Love him or hate him, he earned every yard. . . .  Yeah, he can still help a team.”

“Physically he can probably do it,” an unnamed former Giant says.  “[B]ut the locker room?  I mean, Tiki is a complex guy.”

Complex is the right word.  He’s a guy smart enough to outsmart himself, as evidenced by this clumsy quote regarding Barber’s time hiding out in the attic of the house of his agent, Mark Lepselter, after word broke of Barber’s disintegrated marriage and affair with a former NBC intern:  “Lep’s Jewish, and it was like a reverse Anne Frank thing.”

When it comes to Barber’s return to the NFL after multiple years away from the game, plenty of his former teammates, coaches, and colleagues surely are privately hoping that it’s like a reverse Mike Vick thing.

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35 Responses to “Former Giants teammates have different views on Tiki’s return”
  1. willycents says: May 25, 2011 2:37 PM

    the guy who shot his gun off in a Manhattan nightclub,
    ———————————————-

    He didn’t shoot his “gun” off at the nightclub. He missed by just a couple inches to the side. Thought his “gun” was bigger than it was.

    as is normal for most guys, according to their wives/gf’s :(

  2. clintonportisheadd says: May 25, 2011 2:39 PM

    He ends up in Denver with John Fox. You heard it here first….

  3. waxthat says: May 25, 2011 2:39 PM

    Tiki Barber should never be mentioned in the same breathe as Barry Sanders.

    Just sayin…

  4. lionsnationdotcom says: May 25, 2011 2:39 PM

    How dare you compare Tiki to barry Sanders

  5. airraid77 says: May 25, 2011 2:45 PM

    his career in football, ended the second the giants won the superbowl and all because he couldnt keep his trap shut…….he is now going to pay pied piper.

  6. alewatcher says: May 25, 2011 2:46 PM

    Tiki really helped the Giants by retiring. No way do they win a SB with Tiki tearing apart the locker room.

  7. killxswitch says: May 25, 2011 2:50 PM

    Tiki needs the money to support his massive child support payments.

  8. benh999 says: May 25, 2011 2:53 PM

    Not a Giant’s fan, but I still hate Tiki. That being said, the “Anne Frank” comment was still funny.

  9. hedleykow says: May 25, 2011 2:57 PM

    Tiki has been studying Favre’s playbook?

  10. iflounder says: May 25, 2011 3:19 PM

    can’t imagine too many people are a fan of a guy who pulled one of the all time scumbag moves and left his wife when she was nine months pregnant, with his twins, for an intern. he might have more sympathy in the nba though.

  11. universalcynic says: May 25, 2011 3:21 PM

    Whatever team has the youngest hottest interns, that’s the team Tiki will join.

    “Complex” is only the right word if it serves as a synonym for “douche bag.”

  12. yzguy431 says: May 25, 2011 3:29 PM

    so much going on right now that we are talking about guys not even on a roster.

  13. bravecitizen2011 says: May 25, 2011 3:30 PM

    STOP SAYING, “just sayin’…” you sound like as big of an idiot when you say that as when people constantly misuse the word “epic”. Learn to speak English!

    If you say these words, you are an epic idiot. just sayin’… (eyes rolling)

  14. p4hbiz says: May 25, 2011 3:30 PM

    WOW! Barry Sanders n Tiki Barber in the same breath is insane.

  15. simplesimon1 says: May 25, 2011 3:31 PM

    LOL….Tiki Barber compared to Barry Sanders? Are you out of your mind? Tiki should never even be mentioned in the same sentence as Barry Sanders. You guys are truly reaching with that one…LOL

  16. unclehilroy says: May 25, 2011 3:37 PM

    So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Tiki may or may not help your club. And, he may or may not be a problem in the locker room.

  17. rushbacker says: May 25, 2011 3:39 PM

    Wait. . . did you ACTUALLY compare Tiki Barber to Barry Sanders, or am I just trippin’? Jeez, dude– that was bad.

  18. berniemadoffsides says: May 25, 2011 3:39 PM

    If there’s one position where there’s a surplus of disposable young talent in the NFL, it’s RB. I’m not sure what team could possibly use a 36-year-old RB. Even the best RB in this year’s draft went late in the 1st round – talented RB’s are available in spades, they really are. There are easily 20+ backup RB’s who could start on any NFL team right now.

    That being said, I still think Tiki could play at a relatively effective level, knowing how hard he trains from the years he spent with my Giants. Thing is, for him to be a 3rd down or complimentary back, that means you’re bumping someone 10+ years younger than him down to be a special teams player, thus losing valuable reps for at least one season. You’re compromising young talent for a guy who might last you a season… it just doesn’t make sense.

    I’d truly be shocked if someone picks him up. If he’s smart, he’ll pursue a career in broadcasting. I’ll respect Tiki’s accomplishment with the Giants and I’m one of the few NY fans who will admit he was 100% right when he questioned Eli’s leadership abilities. I genuinely believe that lit a fire under Eli’s a** and ultimately helped us win SB42.

    If any team could use him, it’d be the Jets. I truly believe he can be at least as effective as Tomlinson, who clearly should’ve retired after 2009. If you wanted a legit 3rd down back to replace LT, the Jets could sign Tiki. Will they? I seriously doubt it. But I can’t see him playing for any other team.

  19. jakek2 says: May 25, 2011 3:52 PM

    STOP SAYING, “just sayin’…” you sound like as big of an idiot when you say that as when people constantly misuse the word “epic”. Learn to speak English!

    If you say these words, you are an epic idiot. just sayin’… (eyes rolling)

    ——–
    bravecitizen -

    How about when the brain surgeons here preface their compelling argument (eyes roll) with the classic “Ummm yeah. . . .”

  20. jakek2 says: May 25, 2011 3:59 PM

    berniemadoff –

    I have to respectfully disagree with you wholeheartedly. Talented RBs are NOT available in “spades”. The Giants of all teams are a great example. Show me one RB on that team who can run a screen or catch a swing pass. Also, if there were so many RBs out there, you would think the Giants could sign one to return a kick instead of giving up draft picks for Darius Reynaud of all people. Who’s running for the Skins now? Samkon Gado? Dallas has 20 RBs that are all mediocre. The Eags have McCoy and that’s it. Pats have been looking for a RB since Dillon left. Jets pulled off the scrap heap. GB won without one. They are fewer and farther between than you’d think.

    Bottom line….Tiki will find a job and I’ll bet he’ll be decent.

  21. trbowman says: May 25, 2011 4:07 PM

    Am I the only one cheering for Tiki Barber?

  22. indywilson40 says: May 25, 2011 4:18 PM

    trbowman, Yes.

  23. steeltiger34 says: May 25, 2011 4:22 PM

    Please do not ever compare this clown with Barry Sanders! The 2 names should not even be in the same article!

  24. cardiovascularendurance says: May 25, 2011 4:27 PM

    Could “unnamed former Giant” equal Kurt Warner?

  25. berniemadoffsides says: May 25, 2011 4:35 PM

    @ jakek2:

    Bradshaw hits homeruns with the screen pass, but Gilbride simply never calls for screens! I’ll never understand why we don’t run them as often as we did with Tiki.

    Tiki was outstanding in the flat, and neither Bradshaw nor obviously Jacobs has Tiki’s hands. But think of last year in the few instances Bradshaw caught a screen – he did exceptionally well. It’s arguably our most effective high % play, yet we never do it. Only WR screens to Nicks, apparently.

    The Jets had a great RB in Thomas Jones, but they cut him and signed LT for $100K more and for 1/2 the production. They also cut Danny Woodhead, who tore it up along with “Law Firm” in New England. The Pats just don’t put a premium on RB’s – Corey Dillon was a rare exception.

    We drafted JJ in the 3rd specifically to answer our PR/KR issues. Remember, Hixon was fantastic since 2007 in that regard. We simply don’t have finesse RB’s – we’re a power running offense. A few years ago we cut our 4th RB who ended up starting for the SB Champs – Ryan Grant.

    Teams just don’t put a premium on drafting RB’s in the top 5-10 picks the way they used to. I think most teams would rather bolster their offensive line with a player who has 10 years in a league than draft a shifty RB w/ an average NFL career of 2.3 years. Look at Arian Foster, Ahmad Bradshaw, James Starks, Ryan Grant… all undrafted or late-round draft picks. Those are just the ones I could come up with off the top of my head in recent history.

    And most of the teams that drafted a RB in the first rounds in recent history have not had much success. That pick would be much better spent on a lineman, not a RB whose slightly less skilled replacement could be found in rounds 2-7.

  26. brintfatre says: May 25, 2011 4:40 PM

    Jerrah, are you following this??? You need this guy to go with your QB!

  27. ctgiant says: May 25, 2011 4:45 PM

    Tiki Barber got his most yardage at 30 & 31 years, respectively.
    He’s a straight “hit the hole” N & S RB, and gets there quick.
    Like stray, whoever signs him, assuming there lineman block, oh yeah, he can fill in quite well.
    Redskins; Denver; Pats. If he can get a tryout, he’s gonna play!
    No Barry Sanders!

  28. jakek2 says: May 25, 2011 6:02 PM

    berniemadoff -

    I agree with you that teams don’t spend high picks on RBs. If your argument is that teams do not do so because they are a dime a dozen, you make a compelling point. But I think your argument is that teams do not invest high picks in RBs b/c their years of high output are short. My argument boils down to this…..If you had to give up a pick for Darius Reynaud (who I think they listed as a RB), then RBs aren’t as plentiful as one might think.

    trbowman – I think the Tiki bashers are short sighted and ignorant. They boo him but cheer a statutory rapist. I bet they’d cheer s-bags like Ingram, Sr. and Meggett before Tiki. Truth is…w/o Tiki the Giants would NOT have sniffed the playoffs before 2007. Not only was Tiki the only thing worth watching from 98-07, he also enabled Manning to get valuable playoff experience pre 07′. Without 9 pairs of eyes on Tiki every play in Eli’s early years, Eli would have been a BUST. Tiki-haters don’t acknowledge this. All they say is that he violated the cardinal rule of relaying lockerroom speak. Gimme a break and get over it. So yes, I’m with you and am pulling for Tiki wholeheartedly.

  29. moochzilla says: May 25, 2011 6:07 PM

    Most of Tiki’s production in the passing game came during that era when Ray Rhodes refused to have a guy cover him.

    That was unreal, you could see the play developing and that it was going to go for big yardage. And this happened 5-6 times every single game every year!

  30. jakek2 says: May 25, 2011 6:09 PM

    And to all the posters fixated on the comparisons between Tiki and Barry Sanders, don’t get your panties in a bunch. We all know Barry was electric but the stats are much closer than you’d think. The telling stat is that Barry avg. 5 ypc and Tiki 4.7. If Tiki had as many carries as Barry and kept the same avg., he would have ran for over 14,000 yds (1,000 less than Barry). So chill tardknockers! :)

    Tiki:
    CAR
    2,217
    YDS
    10,449
    AVG
    4.7
    TDS
    55

    Barry Sanders:
    CAR
    3,062
    YDS
    15,269
    AVG
    5.0
    TDS
    99

  31. granadafan says: May 25, 2011 6:25 PM

    Hmmm, former retired player wants to come back? Locker room cancer? Crying? Cheated on his wife? Enough with the Bret Favre stories already!

  32. petedutcher says: May 25, 2011 7:26 PM

    There is only one place Tiki will end up this year…on the Buccaneers playing with his brother in Ronde’s last year.

    You watch, when football comes back, the Bucs will sign him to a one year deal.

  33. simplesimon1 says: May 25, 2011 8:48 PM

    jakek2….. Give me a break….. Comparing Barry to Tiki is like comparing sand to water for somebody that’s thirsty…. I would take the current RB’s the Lions have now over Tiki, let alone Barry Sanders…. Every once in a while you have to actually use your brain and not just look at stats…. Barry had no team around him, ever…. Tiki did… Don’t be an idiot

  34. ocgunslinger says: May 25, 2011 9:15 PM

    Sure he wants to come back. He blew his broadcasting career and his personal life….. what else can he do for a buck?

  35. jakek2 says: May 26, 2011 11:18 AM

    jakek2….. Give me a break….. Comparing Barry to Tiki is like comparing sand to water for somebody that’s thirsty…. I would take the current RB’s the Lions have now over Tiki, let alone Barry Sanders…. Every once in a while you have to actually use your brain and not just look at stats…. Barry had no team around him, ever…. Tiki did… Don’t be an idiot

    —————–
    simplesimon – Where do I begin.
    1) current RBs now on Lions over Tiki? Really? Take off the Lions silver goggles please, thanks.
    2) If I remember correctly, Barry had Herman Moore and Johnnie Morton around him. Who did Tiki have? Ike Hilliard? Ed McCaffrey?
    3) Comparing sand to water in the desert?? Ehh?! I’m beginning to think that you wore a helmet. . . . . when you were a baby

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