King: Tiki Barber could be headed for Pittsburgh

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So with running back Tiki Barber making a comeback after four years out of the game and at the ripe old age (by running back standards) of 36, no one will be interested, right?

Maybe not.  Peter King of Sports Illustrated speculates — but also seems to know more than he’s letting on — that Barber will be given a shot with the Steelers.

King explains that Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin has a close relationship with Tiki’s twin brother, Ronde, arising from their five seasons of working together in Tampa.   Also, King says that Tomlin wouldn’t be shy about cutting Tiki if he fails to win a roster spot, mentioning Mewelde Moore as a guy whom Barber possibly wouldn’t beat out.  Given that Moore will be a free agent once the lockout ends, there’s a chance Barber won’t have to worry about Moore at all.

As to the notion that Barber will “fit right in” with a veteran locker room in Pittsburgh, the bigger question is whether he’ll truly fit in, especially when he tries clumsily to make a crack about Ben Roethlisberger’s misadventures in Milledgeville.  Tiki didn’t fit in with the Giants, and there are strong similarities and connections between the two organizations.

That said, if Barber can still bring it (and, remember, he gained more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage in his final three seasons), he could give the Steelers a viable bridge from Rashard Mendenhall, whose ill-advised comments about Osama bin Laden possibly have made him persona non grata.  But if the Steelers have soured on Mendenhall because of his actions far removed from the field of play, it’s possible that the franchise never will really warm up to Tiki.

Back in March, when news of Tiki’s intent to unretire first emerged and a preliminary link to Pittsburgh was floated, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Rooney family “will reject any suggestion by their coach to sign Barber,” given the events that transpired last year in Tiki’s personal life.  And even if the Rooneys were inclined to accept Barber’s effort in his Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel interview with Armen Keteyian to dull the perception that he dumped his pregnant-with-twins wife while she was, you know, pregnant with twins, a call would be made to the Giants to inquire as to whether signing Barber would be a good idea, and there’s a good chance that the answer from the Giants won’t point to making the move.

Still, Tiki’s destination remains one of the interesting issues that remain clustered on the back burner until the lockout ends.  King’s story regarding the possibility of Pittsburgh pursuing Barber makes it a little more interesting.

32 responses to “King: Tiki Barber could be headed for Pittsburgh

  1. It’s probably the only team he could go to where he wouldn’t be the biggest bag of douche in the locker room.

  2. King is doing what every other football guy is doing right now and that is speculating in order to get people to read his column. No facts or support to see here folks.

  3. Yeah the Steelers have too much class to sign a guy who dumps his pregnant wife and pair him with a Classy QB who sexually assaults women. Classy organization my @$$

  4. I doubt the Steelers sign a second controversial running back. They just rehabbed Big Ben’s image. This year is Mendenhall’s turn.

  5. I absolutely love King, he’s great for the game, but I never consider any of his speculative stuff seriously.

  6. Does Pittsburgh not have enough s**t in their city already?

    Send him to Cleveland. I heard they lost an over-rated, self absorbed sports figure recently…

  7. Or just take any 21-22 year-old, undrafted free agent rookie RB and use him instead of Tiki. You could *maybe* squeak by with a 36-year-old RB for a year, or you could find a RB who’s quicker, faster and actually has the potential to last more than one year in this league.

    And if Tiki were a #3 RB, he’d have to play special teams either on punt coverage or kickoffs… that’s what #3 RB’s on the depth chart do. I can’t see Tiki contributing in this way on any team.

    Whoever signs him, good luck. I just don’t see the short-term or long-term upside to signing a RB at his age who hasn’t played a down in the NFL since 2006. You might as well call up Shaun Alexander, too.

  8. Sooo, Peter King thinks Barber may tryout in Pittsburgh because Tomlin is friends with his twin brother who plays in Tampa Bay. He’e really reaching there. Everyone knows Tiki’s a no-go in Pitt.

  9. Tomlin needs to STOP bringing in mediocre 3rd down RBs from teams that he’s coached with or from his associations with players on other teams.

    Mewelde Moore has been terrible as a Steeler 3rd down RB, and Tiki Barber wouldn’t be any better.

  10. For the love of God and all creatures great and small – let us not sign this guy.

    One of the best things in Pittsburgh is the locker room chemistry that has existed for the last 10-12 years – and Tiki brings the antithesis of that element.

    From his harshing on Coughlin, the coaching staff, his spats with Strahan, his look-at-me personality, his crash-and-burn post-football career, his personal life issues, his need to get his face on TV and his 24/7 mouth in front of a mic …. all of it.

    Tiki even feels the need to go out of his way to use fifty cent words — occasionally mis-using the terms, but the words are so obscure few seem to notice.

    Let’s not bring this guy on board – he seems to spread a lot of acrimony everywhere he goes, from his football career to his post-football career to basically his non-career.

  11. All his character issues aside, look at the risk\reward here. Even if the players warm up to him and he is productive on the field, he would be a decent change of pace\back-up for a year or two. Why bother.

  12. I see nothing wrong with inviting him to camp, as long as he’s properly humbled by his mistakes. He could be an extremely productive backup to Mendenhall, as long as he keeps his mouth shut.

  13. It will be fun to watch, regardless. I think Tiki will still catch a mean screen pass and move the first down marker in a limited role.

  14. I kinda liked Tiki when I heard he was headed to Fox News but since he opted to go the liberal route I will refuse to watch him on the news or in sports and I sure as hell pray that he doesn’t get an offer from my beloved Steelers

  15. Tiki would be a great fit for the Steelers; as an organization they excel at ignoring moral and criminal issues. Roethlisberger’s presence on the roster alone would ensure that Tiki wouldn’t be judged too harshly.

  16. The Steelers don’t sign FAs often because they build their team the best way, through the draft. When they do sign a FA, it’s not this type of “player”. I doubt they sign him.

  17. dryzzt23 says: “I kinda liked Tiki when I heard he was headed to Fox News but since he opted to go the liberal route I will refuse to watch him on the news or in sports and I sure as hell pray that he doesn’t get an offer from my beloved Steelers”

    So, if someone has even the most obscure connection to anything “liberal”, you refuse to watch? Therefore, you will no longer be a Steelers fan and you will no longer watch their games because your “beloved Steelers” owner was appointed an ambassadorship by Obama. Are you capable of thought at all or does talk radio have to tell when to go the bathroom and when to breathe in?

  18. “Steelers have too much class to sign this guy”

    What what what??? You mean a team that has a serial rapist and an Osama bin Laden apologist has too much class for Tiki Barber???

  19. This might concern me if it had been reported by someone else. But another tidbit from the Peter King rumor mill? Nah.

    Apparently King didn’t see last night’s installment of the Top 100. Tomlin was joking about how he repeatedly ignored one of his Tampa players’ suggestions to try out his buddy, a basketball player switching to football. The player? Antonio Gates. If a Tampa defender couldn’t persuade Tomlin to give Gates a try, I don’t think Ronde will persuade him to sign an over-the-hill narcissistic running back who hasn’t been on a field in three years.

  20. This is just another story to make it thru the lockout. Doubt it happens. Not sure I would take Tiki unless we lost Moore. Even then it probably won’t happen. As we all know we should be concentrating on signing Ike and getting another CB who can play. As for the serial rapist comment. I jus gotta laugh at that one. Let it go haters.

  21. The only thing that maters is, if he can still play football at a high level. If he can do that why wouldn’t you sign him.

  22. If I had a dollar for every time over the past few years PFT’s connected a player to the Colts, Steelers or Bucs because of the Tomlin/Dungy/Morris triangle and it never actually played out, I would be able to lend Tiki the money he needs.

  23. Peter King would have a better chance of hitting the lottery than the Steelers signing a 36 yr old RB. Especially seeing as how they have 3 young RBs at their disposal. Tiki retired a Giant, he should stay in retirement.

  24. Does it really matter? He’s a big time douche bag, he quit on his team mid season, trashed his teamates and as soon as he left they won the Super Bowl. Try the UFL Tiki

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