In rush to retire? Giants' Barber 'leaning toward' it
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants do not want to think about life without their all-time leading rusher. But they may have to sooner than expected.
Tiki Barber Running Back
New York Giants
2006 SEASON STATISTICS Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD 102 533 0 22 190 0
Tiki Barber confirmed on Wednesday during a conference call with the media that he is "leaning toward" retiring after this season.
"I've been considering [retirement] for a few years now," Barber said. "It comes to a point where your body just doesn't want to take it anymore, you see other opportunities out there. I'm excited about the rest of my life as well as I am about this football season. So we'll see what happens.
"I don't think there are any definites in life. It's too early in the year to say it for sure. But I'm leaning toward it, for sure."
The 31-year-old Barber is in his 10th season with the Giants. He was named to the Pro Bowl each of the last two years and leads the NFL with 533 rushing yards this season. Last Sunday, Barber rushed for a season-high 185 yards in a 27-14 win at Atlanta.
Barber is signed through the 2008 season. If he retires at the end of this season, Barber would give up $8.3 million in salary.
Major networks have expressed interest in Barber's broadcasting talents. Barber already spends Tuesday mornings as a co-host of "Fox and Friends," a general news program on Fox News.
The SportsBash: Robert Smith Former Minnesota Vikings running back Robert Smith, who retired early after rushing for over 1,500 yards and seven touchdowns in 2000, explains that walking away in your prime has nothing to do with money. Smith says he understands how pro athletes can lose their passion under such a huge microscope.
• To hear all of Smith's comments, click here
"I've had a lot of opportunities," Barber said. "I've been involved in a lot of different things outside of football and they've piqued my interest, whether it's philanthropy or working at Fox or doing radio shows or writing children's books, now more advanced books. There are a lot of different things I want to get into."
In 2005, Barber rushed for a career-high 1,860 yards and caught 54 passes for 530 yards. The combined 2,390 yards was the second-highest single-season total in league history. His 8,870 yards from scrimmage since 2002 is the most in the NFL.
"A lot of guys talk about retirement when they feel like they don't have it anymore," Barber said. "For me, it's not about that. It's about other things, things that have literally been in place for me for eight years now. It's a plan. It's not by accident the things that have happened to me in my life, outside of football."
A second-round pick in 1997, Barber has rushed for 9,320 yards and is second in franchise history with 550 receptions for 4,898 yards. Amani Toomer is the club leader with 555 receptions.
Barber owns 11 team records, including most rushing yards in a game with 220 against Kansas City last Dec. 17. He is 21st on the all-time rushing list and 14th on the all-time list in total yards with 15,955.
Brandon Jacobs, a fourth-round pick in 2005, appears to be the heir apparent to Barber. He has rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries this season.
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