In somewhat of a surprise, former Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber has decided to retire from the NFL. Barber has only been in the NFL for seven years but that was enough for the affectionately-nicknamed Barberian. More and more, running backs are being used up and spit out by the NFL, turning into interchangeable commodities instead of the star players they were once considered.
Barber was a fourth-round draft pick out of Minnesota by former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells and was primarily known for his bruising style of running. He excited teammates and fans alike when he leveled a defender with a wicked stiff-arm or just flat-out ran a victim over. Early on, Barber was the complementary back to Julius Jones, but after a few years he became the primary back. His best year was probably 2007 when he ran for 975 yards, had 10 touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl. Once the Cowboys drafted Felix Jones, Barber's time as lead back was running out, and eventually the Cowboys released him after the lockout ended in 2011. He played last year with the Bears, but they signed Michael Bush as the primary backup for Matt Forte this offseason, leaving Barber without a position.
I always enjoyed Barber as a player, his physical style of running with the dreadlocks flowing out of the back of the helmet was a sight to see. We all knew that he had started to wear down at the end of his time in Dallas, that the collisions with the defense had taken their toll. Apparently, Barber sees that too and decided to get out of the game before his physical well-being became an issue. Good for him, retiring on his own terms.
Barber gave a couple of statements about his retirement, which might be more than the reclusive, press-shy back gave throughout his entire career.
"I want to thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to play, and I'm very thankful to have had the chance to suit up for two of the NFL's most storied organizations," Barber told ChicagoBears.com.
The team website writes that Barber expressed his gratitude to the head coaches he played under in his career – Bill Parcells, Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett with the Cowboys, and Lovie Smith in Chicago, as well as the teams' assistant coaches.
"I want to thank everyone who helped me become a better player," Barber said. "I owe a lot to a lot of coaches, and am also very grateful to the owners and organizations I played for. Last but not least, I want to thank the fans for the support and inspiration they gave me."
Thanks for your efforts in Dallas, Marion, and good luck in whatever you decide to do now.