So what happens when an almost 36-year-old running back who retired in 2007 decides to return to the NFL?
Not much. At least not yet.
Sure, Tiki Barber’s impending un-retirement has got people talking but nobody’s saying much of anything positive.
Tiki claims that hanging out with his twin brother Ronde — a defensive back with the Tampa Bay Bucs — rekindled his competitive spirit, so he started working out again and realized he could still perform at a high level.
That’s Traci Lynn Johnson, a former NBC intern and the woman for whom Tiki Barber left his wife, Ginny, of 11 years – while she was 8 months pregnant with twins, no less. You know how this kind of stuff goes: he’s keeping a mistress, the wife finds out, he abandons his household and files for divorce thinking the grass will be greener and the sun will shine brighter with the new chick, and it all proceeds to blow up in his face.
At one point in 2010, after getting axed from his TV gig on NBC’s Today show and being ordered to pay $150,000 per month in alimony and child support (for 4 kids), Tiki claimed he was broke. Broke? Probably not. But there was no way he was about to shell out that kind of dough every month. On second thought, with the way the new lady in his life was sucking his bank account dry, maybe it was a proactive move on Tiki’s part to say he was broke; if Traci buys one more pair of Manolo Blahniks, he knows he’s headed for Eddie-Murphy-in-the-first-20-minutes-of-Trading-Places-status.
So with the backing of his agent, Tiki Barber filed papers to come out of retirement. It’s a move that reeks of desperation and selfishness. Who knows if there’s even going to be a 2011 NFL season? After going through the process of being reinstated by the league, Barber will have to file the appropriate paperwork with the NY Giants in order to be released from the team’s reserve/retired list. But none of this can jump off until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached. Until then, Barber is left to twiddle his thumbs, workout with his brother, and buy stuff for Traci…with his credit cards.
I don’t know what team would even sign Barber. It’s not just that he’s “over the hill” (in football years), he’s over the hill and hasn’t played a down of NFL football since the end of 2006! There are probably 5 or 6 free agent running backs 30 or older that will get picked up before Barber because they’ve at least been active (Clinton Portis or Ricky Williams, anyone?). Barber is just too much of a financial risk. He’s also a personality risk, having proven himself to be something of a malcontent during his playing days, especially near the end of his career when he publicly criticized Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning. Giants fans, myself included, were glad to see Barber go.
Obviously, I can’t predict with any real certainty how successful Tiki Barber’s comeback will be (if it actually happens), but just the fact that he’s trying shows that he’s delusional – in addition to being desperate. It’s all going to blow up in his face just like his attempt to keep a mistress. There’s no denying Barber was good on the field (when he wasn’t fumbling). But he sucks at life.
Maybe he can get a reality show with Charlie Sheen.