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Posted at 11:16 AM ET, 06/22/2011

Tiki Barber must focus on damage control before returning to NFL

Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber says that he wants to jump back in the NFL after walking away following the 2006 season because, as he puts it, — “right now, I need the game.”

Well Tiki, sorry to say that you, and you alone, are the reason why the American public doesn’t think very highly of you these days. Remember those comments you made to your former quarterback, Eli Manning? Let me refresh your memory.

It was early in 2007, and you were a talking head on the NBC “Football Night in America” show. You had it all going, the looks, the (lack of) hair, and for some reason everyone telling you that you were going to be the next big player-turned-broadcaster.

So you took to NBC to bash your former QB. A kid who has that never-ending “aw shucks” look about him and never seems to have said a bad word about anyone. Then came the famous Olympic gaffe in August of 2008 when you got mad at a female co-worker, and in your anger it sounded like you called her a remark that gets just about everyone that says it fired.

Finally, my favorite. Mr. Upstanding Family Man Barber, who when his wife was 8-months pregnant with twins, left her for a 23-year-old blonde NBC intern named Traci Lynn Johnson. You simply can’t make this stuff up.

So now the 36-year-old has hit rock bottom. He is playing the “depression” card to those that care to listen, which knowing what this ego driven former Giant has been through may or may not be true. This is not to play down those that actually suffer from depression, but it’s to question Barber for using this as a way to get those that know of the events above to feel sorry for him.

Barber spoke to HBO about his comeback, and also about the issues that had him sitting around for a reported 10 hours a day. “I started to shrivel. I didn’t have that confidence. I didn’t have the, that aura anymore,” Barber is quoted in the interview.

While Barber deserves the fate he has brought upon himself, some team is going to take a chance and likely hire the 36-year-old to try and fill a role on the roster somewhere. He will have a chance to rebuild his very tarnished image, and if he’s a man about it, he’ll do it by being humble and saying “sorry” to a lot of people in the process.

The ball is in his court. Now it’s time to see if he takes it and runs with it, or continues with the same downward spiral that has plagued him since he walked away from the game too early after the 2006 season.

By Matt Loede  |  11:16 AM ET, 06/22/2011

Tags:  Matt Leode

 
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