The Dallas Cowboys family tragically lost another member on June 1, when the news that former running back Marion Barber III has died at 38.
The former NFL running back was discovered in his apartment by police, according to CNN. A cause of death has yet to be announced, but the local police in Frisco, Texas said they were responding to a welfare check when they found Barber.
“Frisco Police along with the Collin County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating an unattended death at the location,” the department said, per CNN.
Barber was a key cog in the Dallas machine for six seasons from 2005 to 2010 after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL draft. In his final season with the Cowboys, he played alongside wide receiver Dez Bryant, who earned three Pro Bowl nods in Dallas.
Last July, Bryant called for awareness about Barber’s state.
“As I watch this video and me knowing exactly how Marion barber life is going right now today is why I built @personalcorner…. I can’t even enjoy it because he’s down and out bad…we are just a stat and moments to most people…” Bryant wrote in a quote Tweet on July 15, 2021.
Barber’s death comes at a tragically young age, but the tragedy also represents Bryant’s point about “stats and moments.”
ALL the latest Dallas Cowboys news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Cowboys newsletter here!
Cowboys Release Statement
After the police’s findings and news began to circulate, the Cowboys released a statement on Barber’s passing.
“We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Marion Barber III. Marion was an old-school, hard-nosed football player who ran with the will to win every down. He had a passion for the game and love for his coaches and teammates. Our hearts go out to Marion’s family and friends during this difficult time,” the Cowboys statement reads.
Besides the franchise themselves, several former NFL players and coaches spoke about the running back’s legacy. Former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett described Barber as someone who “would run through the wall for you” while offering his condolences.
2022 has been tough for the Cowboys franchise as Barber marks another death in the organization’s world. Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright, ex-assistant Gary Brown, owner Jerry Jones’ personal assistant of 40 years Marylyn Love, and veteran scouting director Larry Lacewell have all passed in 2022.
When it comes to short-yardage backs, there may never be a player quite like Barber. A Pro Bowler in 2007, the former Cowboys RB has a Pro Football Reference page that sticks out.
After a solid rookie season in 2005 with five touchdowns and 538 rushing yards, Barber scored 24 touchdowns over the next two years despite starting just one game. Granted, his 975 rushing yards in 2007 showed that he was more of a backup in name rather than reps.
Barber remained productive, going for seven touchdowns in both the 2008 and 2009 seasons, while totaling 1817 rushing yards on the ground.
However, in 2010, the Cowboys began shifting away from Barber, instead giving more reps to Felix Jones. The next season in 2011, Barber would make his final NFL regular season appearances with the Chicago Bears.