Shutdown Corner - NFL

Tiki Barber, former star running back for the New York Giants, has filed paperwork with the league indicating that he's ending his retirement to once again be an NFL running back.

The Giants acknowledged on Tuesday that the 35-year-old Barber has asked to be taken off the reserve-retirement list and that they will release him once the league allows it as teams cannot make roster moves during the current extension of the CBA talks.

"We wish Tiki nothing but the best, and when we are able to make the transaction, we will release him from our reserve-retired list," the Giants said.

I did not see this coming.

The first question that comes to my mind is "why?" Why on earth would a 35-year-old running back be so eager to return to a physically punishing league that, quite frankly, treats 35-year-old running backs like garbage? Especially when that league isn't even certain to have a 2011 season?

Jon Wertheim of SI.com passes this along:

Barber's personal and professional life have been in shambles recently. In April 2010, Barber reportedly left his wife of 11 years, Ginny, for 23-year-old Traci Johnson, a former NBC intern. Ginny was eight months pregnant at the time. Soon after, NBC cited its morals clause and terminated Barber's contract, which reportedly paid him more than $300,000 per year.

In June 2010, the New York Post reported Barber was broke and couldn't pay his divorce settlement with his ex-wife.

If money is truly his motivation, this story starts to lose some of its charm. I hope he's coming back because he loves to compete and feels like he can still run with the young whippersnappers.

If it's true that he's doing it because he needs the money, it feels less like Rocky IV, and a little more like Mike Tyson vs. Kevin McBride.

Barber, who has served as an NFL analyst for Y! Sports, retired after the 2006-2007 season at the top of his game. He ran for over 1,600 yards in his final season, with 58 receptions and 465 receiving yards on top of it. Barber, especially later in his career, was able to keep himself relatively injury-free. He still had something in the tank when he walked away.

I hope it's still there.

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