Tiki Barber was once one of the most beloved players in New York Giants history. While his efforts on the field are still remembered fondly amongst Big Blue faithful, his outspoken takes have certainly rubbed some the wrong way since transitioning to the media side of things.
However, Barber’s latest take regarding a potential tampering case against Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel certainly holds some merit, even if the NFL may not see it that way.
Barber on Vrabel’s Convo With Brady: ‘It Is Tampering’
When Tom Brady recently attended a Syracuse vs. North Carolina basketball game along with Jimmy Fallon and current teammate Julian Edelman, what stole the majority of headlines was the latter’s comments regarding Brady, stating “he’s coming back” pointing towards Brady’s impending free agency.
Yet, what flew under the radar to many, Barber not included, was a FaceTime conversation Brady had with Titans head coach and former Patriots teammate Mike Vrabel during the game.
Vrabel brushed the conversation off as just a call between friends, stating on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, that “it would be no different than a conversation you would have with your girlfriends on a weekend.”
However, Barber, the Giants all-time leading rusher, isn’t buying it. “It is tampering,” Barber said during his CBS Sports radio show Tiki & Tierney, “Of course it is. They have a relationship. This is the point of the rule.”
Brady Remains Under Contract With Patriots Until March 18th
While the conversation may have been a bunch of nothing, Barber’s point is that that’s all the conversation needs to be to potentially sway a player’s future decisions.
“‘Hey, you should think about [playing] with us,’” Barber said. “‘We’re going to do this, this, this, this, and this. It’s going to be a great destination for you. But you’re just my friend, right? We’re just having these friendly conversations.’ Until you’re basically working out a deal while having a friendly conversation.”
NFL’s tampering rule “refers to any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL.” With Brady still officially under contract with New England until March 18 at 4 p.m. ET, Barber’s argument certainly has legs to stand on.
“Prior to three months ago, when he was under contract and playing for the New England Patriots and we had no idea – or even questioned – where he was going to play, they could have a text conversation or a phone conversation or a video chat or whatever the heck they want to do,” Barber continued. “Now that we are on the precipice of free agency and Mike Vrabel is the head coach and Tom Brady is a soon-to-be free agent, this is tampering. This is what it was created for – to break up relationships that give certain teams an unfair advantage when it comes to free agency. Because you could easily – just like in the NBA – have these conversations.”
All in all, Barber does believe that the Brady and Vrabel discussion was indeed tampering, however, he was quick to point out that in the grand scheme of things, he could care less. “Now, do I care?” he said, chuckling. “That’s a different question.”
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