Former Giants running back Tiki Barber made himself into a pariah of sorts after his one-year-too-early-retirement, taking shots at the team as his playing career devolved into a media misadventure. Now, more than a decade after leaving the Giants, Tiki is back in the fold.
As explained by Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, new Giants head coach Pat Shurmur contacted Tiki not long after getting the job.
“I reached out to him,’’ Shurmur said, via Schwartz. “I wasn’t here for all that. I’m walking into this thing with fresh eyes. He was an outstanding player. I remember he found a way, he kind of had the fumbling thing going and he found a way to fix it, which I was impressed by.’’
“All that” included, most recently, a public call from Tiki to fire former head coach Tom Coughlin, which prompted a dry, sarcastic response from quarterback Eli Manning. (Along the way, Tiki wrote a column bemoaning the collapse of the Giants. It was published in late November 2011; little more than two months later, the Giants were putting their fingerprints all over a Lombardi Trophy.)
When Shurmur called, Tiki initially didn’t recognize the number, so he didn’t answer. When he realized who it was, Tiki quickly responded.
“When he called me out of the blue, it was shocking in a sense but it was welcome,’’ Barber told Schwartz. “We had a great conversation. I was taken by how calm he is and how measured and thoughtful he is, which resonates really well with me, because that’s how I am.”
And there’s the Tiki we’ve come to know; it’s always eventually about him. That’s what Shurmur will eventually realize, leading inevitably to the moment this unshun becomes a re-shun.
And to Manning making another dry, sarcastic remark with an inescapable “I told you so” message embedded at the bottom of it.