We’ve devoted quite a bit of blog space discussing Tiki Barber, who announced in March that he intends to return to the NFL after a four-season layoff.
Expectedly, opinions vary on if Barber, who will be 36 next season, has enough left in the proverbial tank to make an impact. Of course, there’s also the issue of Barber throwing his former Giants coach and teammates under the bus in comments during his post-career role as a television analyst.
Discussing the topic on “The Rich Eisen Podcast” with Barber’s ex-teammate, Michael Strahan, NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp took issue with the way the running back later turned his back on the Giants’ locker room.
“I didn’t think much of him when he did play,” Sapp said. “I mean that’s the whole point. He was a fumbler all the way through his life, and then all of a sudden, somebody taught him how to hold the ball up high and then he (left the Giants) and said, Eli (Manning) can’t lead them and they’ll never win a championship.
“That kind of lends to who I’m talking about. This is the same guy. This is all encompassed into the same thing. There’s no way you turn your back on your teammates that block for you, that gave you the ball on short fields and did whatever they did. … There’s still no reason for you to attack your teammates.”
Strahan didn’t disagree with that assessment.
“Sapp is 100 percent right,” he said. “Only thing is, if it comes to playing football, he can play.”
Barber presents a tough decision for teams, given that he would take up a roster spot as a backup but likely wouldn’t play special teams. Strahan maintains a belief that Barber can be productive, but he admits he’s not sure how his ex-mate would impact a team’s chemistry.
“I think it plays into the minds of some of the teams that will probably go, ‘Well, he can come in, he can be productive. We think he can. But how does that play into the chemistry of our team?’” Strahan said. “So I think that’s important if you’re a GM. That’s what you’re going to look at if you’re a head coach. Now, if you want guys that are going to give you production, that’s going to work hard, is going to bust his butt, you’re going to get all of that.”
“But the other part, I’m not sure myself.”
Click here to listen to the full version of The Rich Eisen Podcast.