Giants Legend Tiki Barber Reveals Why He Really Retired From NFL

Getty Scott Hamilton, Tracie Hamilton, Tiki Barber and Traci Lynn Johnson attend the Stephan Weiss Apple Awards at Urban Zen on October 24, 2018, in New York City.

Tiki Barber’s career as a New York Giants running back is unmatched.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Barber’s a member of the Giants’ Ring of Honor, is big blue’s all-time leader in rushing yards and in 2005 was the NFL’s top yardage gainer from the line of scrimmage.

Barber was part of the Giants team that finished 11-5 and won the NFC East title for the first time since 2000. On December 17, 2005, Barber broke the Giants’ single-game rushing record against the Kansas City Chiefs, rushing for 220 yards.

Barber retired from football at the end of the 2006 NFL postseason and transitioned into television.

But why?

On the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I asked him if his relationship with Tom Coughlin had anything to do with it. “I mean, Tom was such a small part of it,” Barber told me.

GettySaquon Barkley (R) hosts event for lucky Verizon Up Super Ticket recipients together with Tiki Barber at Bryant Park on December 18, 2019, in New York City.

He was so hard on everybody and you felt unappreciated at times, but it was so much more than that. Maybe he was the last little straw that made me walk away from the game, but physically I was getting beat up man. And it would take me until Thursday to feel good again. I was getting massages on Monday and acupuncture, I would get this ART treatment and then another massage on Thursday, and then now I’m feeling alright on Friday; and it’s like a walkthrough practice and then you get beat up again and it starts over. And it was just getting hard.

Barber said he wanted a change of pace. “The other thing is my life,” he said:

These experiences that were happening to me were just capturing my attention. Whether it was going to Israel on the request of the late Shimon Peres and visiting the Knesset and it was a surreal world that I was living in. I was working at FOX News at the time and I met Tony Snow, who was the House Press Secretary who introduced me to Condoleezza Rice, and I had lunch with Condi Rice when she was Secretary of State Department, all these things are just becoming more interesting to me than grinding. Being in the circle, developing relationships that were going to be so much more beneficial to me once I retired than being a football player. Now I love being an NFL athlete. I loved doing it in New York and having success in New York because it granted me access to a rarified circle like these billionaires and hedge fund managers and the society in New York. I mean, I had no business belonging but because I was a good football player, I had access to it and I was able to develop and create a lot of relationships. And so, it’s come to the point that I want to explore this. I mean, football’s great, but I want to explore this; and it became more important and that’s why I walked away.

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