Legendary New York Giants running back Tiki Barber recently discussed his early retirement and his thoughts on the Hall of Fame.
Tiki Barber is one of the better-known cases of a sensation retiring in their prime. After three consecutive Pro Bowl campaigns from 2004-06, Barber decided to call it quits after 10 seasons with the New York Giants. His retirement additionally came one year after he earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2005. Big Blue originally selected him in the second round (No. 36 overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft.
It was a decision many fans disliked, considering how dominant he was at the running back position. But years after the fact, the former Giant still has his reasons for hanging up the cleats.
“I was getting crap beat out of me,” he told Doug Doughty of The Roanoke Times. “The running back position hadn’t evolved into what it is now.
“I was getting 400 touches a season and getting all beat up. I didn’t want to get crippled. I was durable, but I wasn’t a big guy.”
Barber earned a career-high and league-high 411 touches in 2005, a number that encompassed a career-high 357 carries. As a result, he rushed for 1,860 yards and racked up 2,390 scrimmage yards, both of which were career-highs. The latter statistic also led the league.
Tiki additionally provided his thoughts on the Hall of Fame process. He nor his twin brother Ronde, who retired after the 2012 season, have been inducted into Canton, but neither is an impossible scenario. Both underwent productive careers at their respective positions, Ronde having played defensive back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1997-2012.
“It’s not even a conversation because of the durability and uniqueness of his role,” Tiki said in regards to how his brother should eventually earn the prestigious honor. “The fact that some of these guys are getting in is laughable to me.
“When [Ronde] started playing in that Tampa-2 defense, which put a huge emphasis on the slot cornerback, that third cornerback became invaluable.
“There were seasons when Ronde had 100 tackles. He had, what? Twenty-eight sacks in his career? He was asked to do so much. Now, if you look at that position, it’s one of the most valuable.”
Tiki additionally possesses strong thoughts about the Hall of Fame induction process in general.
“It’s all about someone creating a narrative for you,” he said, “And, if they create one against you, then you aren’t going to get in. It’s kind of crazy.”
Will either earn that gold jacket? Only time will tell for the infamous Barber bros.