When Tiki Barber walked off the field for the last time on Sunday, the NFL lost a great ambassador to the sport. Barber was the anti-Terrell Owens, a player who put his team before his paycheck and always thought before he spoke.
Tiki and his brother, Ronde, donated $500,000 each to their alma mater, the University of Virginia. This money was divided to different parts of the university, including the McIntire School of Commerce, where Tiki got his degree, and the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital.
Of course, Barber’s NFL career isn’t something to ignore. Barber had a slow start to his career, but a string of stellar seasons, starting in 2002, elevated him to superstardom. Since that year, he ran for 7,643 yards, an average of 1,528 yards per season and 94.35 per game. He also played every game of those five years. The 2006 season was Barber’s biggest year, where he became the only player in history to rush for 1,800 yards and 500 receiving yards in a season. He also had three games with 200+ rushing yards in a season, something that only he, O.J Simpson, and Earl Campbell have ever done.
He finished his career with a total of 10,449 rushing and 5,183 receiving yards. He averaged an impressive 4.7 yards per rush. He holds 10 major offensive records for the Giants, including most rushing yards, most receptions, He had 38 games with 100 or more rushing yards, including one in the heartbreaking loss to Philadelphia that ended his career.
Heartbreaking to everyone except Tiki, that is. Barber was content and happy with his career on the Giants. “To go out on my own terms and be healthy… is something you can’t put a value on.”
The only blemish on Barber’s career was the lack of a Super Bowl ring, but Tiki seems okay with that, too. “I have come to the conclusion that it is not going to define me,” he said. “My legacy will be of someone who has played through the ups and downs, good times and bad, and you always knew what you were getting out of me on Sunday.”
Say goodbye to the player who played with passion and pride every game.
Say goodbye to the player who knew that his work off the field was just as important as it was on the field.
Say goodbye to Tiki Barber.