Incredible as it may seem, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber has filed paperwork with the NFL to return to football. Even more incredibly, after all the darts he has pointed at coach Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants over the years, the Giants have confirmed that they would control his rights if he does return to football.
The story was first reported by FOX Sports. Barber, 36, retired after the 2006 season as the leading rusher in Giants history. Barber, a three-time Pro Bowler, rushed for 1,662 yards and five touchdowns in 2006. He totaled 10,449 yards with a 4.7 yards per carry average in his career.
Even though the Giants own Barber's rights, don't get the idea that Barber will ever suit up as a Giant again. Inside Football's Pat Traina addressed that topic already via Twitter. I will leave Pat's comment, which I wholeheartedly agree with, in Twitter short-hand.
"I don't see Barber and the #nyg reuniting. That bridge was burned when Tiki verbally teed off on TC B4 he left."
Ernie Palladino also opined that there is no chance of a Giants-Barber reunion:
"One thing is for certain. He won't be back with the Giants. Coughlin was deeply hurt by his comments. And the fans showed him exactly what they thought of him last season with robust booing as the team inducted him into the Ring of Honor."
The Giants could keep Barber. Smart money, though, is that they would simply release him and let him go find a deal if anyone is interested.
Interestingly side note to the story. Many Giants players have come out in support of the team bringing the jailed Plaxico Burress back once he is released from prison this summer. Barber is not getting the same welcome mat. Check out this tweet from Giants wide receiver Steve Smith:
"Is Tiki "No Need for a" Barber serious?? Can't wait till he play vs the Giants. They gone hear them Boooo's all way in LA"
Here is another classic tweet from Jane McManus of ESPN New York:
Possible scouting report: "The 2011 Giants, led offensively by Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress and Tiki Barber..."
Similarly great tweet from Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News:
Barber, of course, left the Giants under acrimonious circumstances after 2006. At the time, many felt he had a couple of quality seasons left. Since then, Barber has seen his television career implode and had his personal life fall apart. This seems like little more than a desperate money grab from a guy who really has no other way to earn a million-dollar paycheck at this point.