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NEW JERSEY–Far too often in the world of sports we confuse a player’s on the field performance with their personality off of the field and in most cases these two personas are completely different. In the case of Tiki Barber, he basically is the same person on and off the field: A man that lacks integrity and turns his back on commitments.
With March Madness staring us in the face, the top headline on www.espn.com was a report that former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber is planning on making a comeback to the NFL. This should cause outrage in the land of New York and concern for Detroit Lions fans. We’ll break that down in a minute but first, let’s take a little trick down Tiki-Lane and remind the world just who this man is:
The Giants give Barber a 6-year contract and he calls himself the happiest man in New York.
Tiki Barber tells the world how Michael Strahan, his teammate and a future Hall of Famer is acting “ridiculous” for holding out for more money and that “Michael is thinking about the team and not himself.” This happens after Barber gets a contract that will make him financially secure for life or so we thought.
Barber tells the world that New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin is to blame for the team’s 2005 Wild Card Playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers. Barber later apologizes and says he was taken out of context and alluded this type of thing would not happen again.
After a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Barber once again trashes Coughlin to the press after telling the world he was taken out of context the first time.
Barber reveals his intention to retire and shocks the New York media and more importantly, the fans and teammates of the New York Giants. Barber speaks of his desire to become a broadcaster and says how he “lost his heart to play the game.” Barber was one of the highest paid players in the game at this point.
Barber trashes New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning stating that the signal caller’s pre-game speeches were “almost comical.” This happens after he hangs the Giants out to dry when he denies the organizations pleas to continue to play for them. That season, the first without Barber, the Giants go on to shock the Tom Brady-led and 18-0 New England Patriots and win Super Bowl XLII.
Barber leaves his pregnant wife for a 23-year old NBC-Intern whom he had been having a long-term extra-marital affair with.
Barber announces he wants to come back to the NFL. The New York Giants whom still own his rights will gladly release him.
Clearly, history shows that Barber is not a man of integrity and has always been one that cares far more about the name on the back of the jersey as opposed to the name on the front. With that said, many are wondering where Barber may land this offseason.
Make no mistake about it; Jahvid Best looked like the real-deal at times during his rookie season. However, the Lions are staring a lockout in the face and are only a few pieces away from making it to the next level. A player with the ability of Tiki Barber could potentially make the difference but is he worth the risk?
At 35 years old, there is no question that Barber’s best days are behind him but we have to wonder if he could make a difference in the NFL today. In a brutal NFC North Division that includes the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers, the division winner Chicago Bears and an underachieving yet talented Minnesota Vikings team, the Lions could be looking for any edge they could get.
I have a friend named Michele Cappuccio that is a diehard New York Giants fan. Her favorite player was Tiki Barber and she named her dog Tiki. When an intelligent young woman such as Michele Cappuccio names a beloved pet after Barber it shows you how much of an impact he had on the town of New York and their fans. His actions towards the end of his career also show how he really could not care about anything other than what Tiki Barber wants.
It’s fairly obvious that this man was a talent on the fan and if his integrity came close to matching his physical abilities, he would’ve been something special. Instead, he blew it and thought of himself and that speaks volume about this man.
As for the Lions or anybody else signing Tiki Barber, we have to remember that a leopard rarely changes their spots. In the game of life, Tiki Barber has proven over and over again that he fumbles at the goal line.