Tiki Barber: Why Would He Come out of Retirement Now?

Eric GarmentContributor IMarch 8, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - JANUARY 07:  Tiki Barber #21 of the New York Giants waits on the field after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-20 during their NFC Wildcard Playoff game on January 7, 2007 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

News broke today that former New York football Giants running back Tiki Barber has filed papers with the league to come out of retirement.

Barber played 10 years with the Giants from 1997-2006, rushed for 10,449 yards with the team and compiled 67 combined touchdowns. Although Barber's contract with the Giants still has two years left on it from when he retired, the team has indicated they will release him as soon as they can.

The big question on football fans' minds today has been why Barber is coming back at all. He left the Giants following the 2006 season and revealed shortcomings about the leadership abilities of then-young quarterback Eli Manning.

The Giants went on to upset the would-be-perfect New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII that season, while Barber was a reporter for NBC's football coverage. Giants fans didn't miss Barber that season, as they were treated to the emergence of Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward.

Jumping back to the present, Barber's comeback makes little-to-no sense.

When (or if) the season starts in September, he'll be 36. Most running backs start to lose steam once they hit age 30, and only one backfield player at age 36 or older gained significant playing time in 2010 (Tony Richardson, New York Jets).

Without a solid place to land, Barber is taking the chance that no one signs him or that he's a training camp invitee who has to work his way onto the 53-man roster (possibly more following Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations).

I can't fathom why he's doing this now.

Perhaps he has nothing else to do aside from bit roles on TV shows since NBC quietly didn't renew his contract in May. Perhaps he misses the clash of the gridiron. Perhaps he wants to disprove the theory that aging running backs can't succeed.

No matter what his motive is, Tiki Barber will likely be back out of football faster than you can say "un-retirement."