It was just announced that Tiki Barber plans to unretire and play in the 2011-12 season. Barber retired following the 2006 season, one year before the New York Giants—his former team of ten years—won the Super Bowl without him.
Following Barber's initial retirement, he was very critical of Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin and franchise quarterback Eli Manning. It seems safe to say he will not be rejoining the Giants roster because of those criticisms. The Giants still hold the rights to the almost 36-year-old running back, although now that Barber has filed the necessary paperwork, they will most likely give up those rights and Barber will enter free agency.
So what NFL team will be interested in a 36-year-old running back who hasn't seen a down in four years? Difficult to say. Before teams start to look at him though, they probably have more pressing concerns at their forefront, such as the pending CBA extension.
What made Barber decide to come back? Sources say that money is at the front of his mind.
Last April, news circulated that Barber left his wife of over ten years for a former NBC intern. Barber had signed with NBC following his retirement to be a correspondent for their morning show, The Today Show, as well as the weekly program Football Night in America.
After the news of Barber's extracurricular activities surfaced, NBC severed ties with Barber, due to their morals clause. While his contract with NBC was not as lucrative as his football contract, it did reportedly pay him six figures.
Amidst Barber's divorce, the New York Post alleged that Barber could not afford to pay a divorce settlement. This may have prompted Barber to come out of retirement and attempt a comeback this fall.
Unfortunately for Barber, it is poor timing considering the aforementioned CBA discussions and potential lockout next season. Plus, since Barber has not played in four years, it would be difficult for a team to commit to the risk. Sure, Barber was a fantastic running back during his career, but who is to say what he would be like this coming season, assuming there is one?
Barber's twin brother, Ronde Barber, just signed a one-year extension with his team—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Could Tiki join Ronde in Tampa? Since the news just broke, it is difficult to speculate on where Barber will end up. We will just have to wait and see what unfolds.
Personally, I really hope even more than before that there is an NFL season in the fall. I would really like to see how Barber looks now compared to his old self. Although, it would be very weird to see Barber in a uniform besides the Giants.
What do you think of the Barber situation?