Marion Barber made his presence known during his first practice with the Chicago Bears last offseason. In a "non-contact" drill, Barber broke through the offensive line and plowed over a defender, eliciting a huge reaction from his teammates and the Bourbonnais crowd.
It was the type of player he was: a hard-nosed runner that sought out contact and punished opposing defenses with his bruising style. Unfortunately, it appears the wear and tear on his body took its toll.
Barber announced today he has decided to retire from the game of football.
RB Marion Barber
Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire
"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.
A former fourth-round pick out of Minnesota in 2005, Barber spent his first six season with the Dallas Cowboys. He split carries for most of his career but was always a force in the red zone. He was also an underrated pass catcher.
Barber finished his career 4,780 rushing yards (4.1 yards per carry) and 53 rushing touchdowns, to go along with 179 career receptions for 1,330 yards and six scores.
With the Bears last season, Barber missed five games with a calf injury, finishing the year with 422 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Unfortunately, he'll be best remembered in Chicago for his late-game meltdown against the Denver Broncos in Week 14.
The writing was on the wall for Barber and the team. The Bears put the franchise tag on Matt Forte, tendered Kahlil Bell and signed free agent Michael Bush. There was just no room on the roster for Barber.
There was reportedly interest in him from a few teams around the league – he could still serve as a quality short-yardage back if need be. But it appears he's not interested in punishing his body any more.
His retirement will clear up $2 million in cap space for the Bears in 2012.
Follow me on Twitter: @BearReport
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.