Two former Giants, Plaxico Burress and Tiki Barber, are hoping to return to the NFL this year after a long time away. One of their former teammates says that he’d rather be reunited with the guy who’s been in prison than the guy who’s been on television.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning said on today’s Dan Patrick Show that he’d accept Burress as a teammate before he’d accept Barber as a teammate — and he thinks most of his current teammates feel the same way.
“Probably Plaxico,” Manning said when asked which one would be more welcome in the Giants’ locker room. “He has probably fonder memories, winning a Super Bowl, that catch for the touchdown in Super Bowl XLII. Tiki just ended on a bad note. It’s really a shame, he should be remembered as a great Giants running back and a terrific player — because he was — but the way he went out he burned a few bridges. . . . So I think Plaxico would probably be welcomed back a little quicker.”
When Barber was an NBC analyst he offered some criticisms of Manning, and Manning says that by firing back and offering his own criticisms of Barber, he earned more respect in the Giants’ locker room.
“I responded back and I think guys liked to see that from me,” Manning said. “I didn’t want it to be a deal where it’s me vs. Tiki . . . but I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing.”
Manning’s comments are a fascinating glimpse into the way football players view the actions of their teammates: Burress broke the New York Penal Code, but now that he’s served his time, players are willing to forget about it. Barber broke the locker room code by attacking former teammates in the media, and that’s not something those teammates are willing to forgive.