Antonio Pierce: Tiki Barber not a leader

Updated: March 9, 2011, 10:44 AM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

Nobody knows how much Tiki Barber has left in the tank for a comeback.

But Antonio Pierce, the former Giants linebacker, says his old teammate won't add much to the locker room of any team that decides to add him in terms of leadership.

"Tiki Barber, the football player, great player, will be very productive probably in certain situations, third-down, maybe can help out a young quarterback, some young running backs, depending on who it is," Pierce, now an ESPN analyst, said on NFL Live. "Tiki Barber, the leader, the person in that locker room? He is not going to do anything for your team."

"Now if that is the guy you think you are bringing in, you might want to look in another direction," Pierce continued. "From personal experience, he didn't do anything to help the Giants [in] 2006 when he decided to retire in the middle of the season and then months later question our quarterback and our head coach. That is my problem with Tiki Barber ... the guy can play. Can he do it four years later? I don't think he can."

Barber's agent, Mark Lepselter, defended his client.

"It's no secret Tiki and Antonio don't like one another," Lepselter told the New York Post. "I wholeheartedly acknowledge Antonio has a Super Bowl ring but beyond that do I really need to waste my time comparing Tiki's accomplishments in Giants blue with Antonio's accomplishments in Giants blue?"

"Tiki's not going to waste his time with Antonio Pierce," Lepselter said. "You get paid in that business to be objective and it's clear he was not objective. It's a personal attack and his employer should tell him not to take personal attacks on the air."

Barber will be attempting a comeback to the football field after a four-year retirement. Barber rushed for 1,662 yards and five touchdowns during his last season in 2006.

The New York Giants have said they will release Barber whenever teams are allowed to make transactions again when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

Pierce, who played two seasons (2005 and 2006) with Barber, believes the Giants are making a smart move. He told ESPN 1050's Brandon Tierney and Jody McDonald last year that he is not a fan of Barber's.

He reiterated that upon hearing of Barber's comeback.

"I didn't get a chance to get to know who Tiki Barber was the person," Pierce said. "I know him as a player and the guy was great and we always congratulate each other, the way we played."

"But what he did in that locker room my two years with him, he didn't do anything but deteriorate that team," Pierce added. "And he didn't help us out. I don't see this guy as a leader or somebody that can help you out. And that's my problem with him. That is why I believe they [the Giants] will release him because he is going to cause nothing but problems for that team."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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