Barber: Conference Call with Dallas Media

Tiki Barber held a conference call with the Dallas Media today. Here are the questions and answers:

October 18, 2006

(On retirement) "I've been considering it for a few years now. It comes a point where your body just doesn't want to take it any more, you see other opportunities out there. I'm excited about the rest of my life as well as I am about this football season. So we'll see what happens.

You doing it?
"I don't think there are any definites in life. It's too early in the year to say it for sure. But I'm leaning toward it, for sure."

Go out on top?
"I've never wanted to be a running who was just hanging on just because I could because my past record of accomplishment. I wanted to be someone who was productive and elite form when I was playing. If I wasn't able to do this, then I'd do something else.

Could anything change your mind?
"I don't know if there is anything that would change my mind. I've had a lot of opportunities ... I've been involved in a lot of different things outside of football and they've piqued my interest, whether it's philanthropy or working at Fox or doing radio shows or writing children's book, now more advanced books. There are a lot of different things I've been involved in that have piqued my interest over the years and I really want to get into.

TO's book...
"I haven't (read it). I haven't gotten an advance copy.

Did he call you for advice?
"(laughs) You know what? As long as he's sending the right message through the book, it doesn't matter. I hope he does well and sends the right kind of message to kids because that's what we try to do with our children's books."

Did y'all laugh about it?
"(laughs) A little bit. Ronde said, `See, look at this trend we started. Now all atheltes are going to want to write children's books.' But they've been in the works before. ... I think it's actually a great avenue for us as role models, people who have influence, to send positive messages to kids. For Ronde and I in particular, messages to boys because there's not a lot of books written for boys. They get lost in video games and doing other things that aren't as productive as reading and playing outside and advancing your life in a normal fashion, not a TV-driven, video-game fashion."

Outside interests pulling u away ...
"I think it's a lot of things in combination -- the attraction of all those outside interests, it's the fact that next year I'll be 32 years old. I know that at some point as all running backs do, it's not a gradual decline. It's like you step off a cliff -- from 1,500 yards rushing to 400 yards rushing. And the fact that I'm getting old. My body is beat up. I've had a lot of carries over the last few years. Fortunately, knock on wood, I've been healthy. I haven't missed a game in about six years. I know at some point that will come to an end.
"I think the biggest thing is, and I recognize this, most players get kicked out of the NFL. They don't go out on their own terms. Being someone who takes a lot of pride in what I do, I kind of want to go out on my own terms.

Key to durability?
"A lot of things. Understanding contact, understanding how people will attack me and how they're going to try to attack me. Also, I've changed how I work out in the offseason. I've started powerlifting instead of speed and conditioning workouts, boxing, etc., for conditioning.
I got stronger and powerful. I realized football is a game played by strong, powerful, explosive men and if I was anything less than that then I couldn't be successful or durable. I think really what has allowed me to be successful the last few years is that as people begin to wear down in games 6-7-8 to 16, I'm still healthy and ascending. It's allowed me to have big games at the end of seasons, when they really matter.

Julius Jones:
"Absolutely (sees resemblance) . I think it's a new trend in running backs that are versatile. I think Marion Barber down there as well is the same kind of back, who can be a between-the- tackles runner, can also reach the corner, are very effective in the pass game, are not afraid to pick up blitzes, even though they are diminuitive in size, relatively speaking, and to be a complete back. The definition of what a good running back in the NFL is is going to change. It's not going to be so much about `This guy rushed for 1,500 yards.' It's about what he does completely for his team to help them win. I think Julius is definitely in that mold of running back.

Cows run D:
"It's hard to say. They obviously have a very solid defense. DeMarcus Ware is a young guy I have a lot of respect for. Playing against him last year, his long arms. Roy Williams, obviously, is a big hitter. It's going to be a challenge for us, just like it was last week in Atlanta and the week before in Washington. We have to stay committed to it and we have to find ways to take advantage of things they do. We'll have a game plan. I have faith in our coaching staff and my offensive line to get whatever has to be done, done.

Mentally are you already retired?
"Do you agree with that after last week? I considered retiring after last year and I had 1,860 yards. I don't necessarily agree with that.
I think the mind-set of what you want to do with retirement, at least for me, is different.
A lot of guys talk about retirement when they feel like don't have it any more. For me, it's not about that. It's about other things, things that have literally been in the place for me for 8 years now. It's a plan. it's not by accident the things that have happened to me in my life, outside of football.
Literally, I'm just eager to do that. I know football is going to come to an end at some point and I want to go out on my own terms.

Why back now?
"to prove things. A couple of years ago going through the fumbling thing, I wanted to prove myself. even that year, we had a terrible season, we were 7-9.
I want to bring legitimacy back to the New York Giants football organization. I want to be a part of that. So we did that. Then I came back this year, because I really want to win a Super Bowl. I can't guarantee that we're going to get there, but with my skill and the skill of the guys around me and a great team effort, we have a chance. That's what is driving me. If I get there, great. If I don't, I also realize I've accomplished a lot in my career. I don't need that to define what i've done.

HOFer? Matter?
"It does, but not really because it's subjective. It's not something you can look at somebody and say this guy is a Hall of Famer or this guy is not. I know for running backs, it's largely based on numbers -- how many rushing yards did he have in his career? that will determine whether he's Hall of Fame caliber.
But my career has been different than most. For my first 3 years, I didn't have 1,000 yards rushing. I developed my worth as a player doing other things, being a punt returner, being a third-down back. Eventually my role grew. then the rushing yards started coming.
But I've always done different things. I've been versatile. I haven't necessarily just been that guys who is going to carry the ball 35, 40 times a game and end the season with 1,500 yards every year.

MNF memories?
"I think Monday Night is one of the greatest platforms. To tell you the truth, the one I remember ironically enough is against the Dallas Cowboys when we played back in I want to say 1999. It was a very close game. I think we ended up winning by 3. I returned a punt for a touchdown in that game and I had a big play at the end of the game to set up our game-winning field goal. With essentially no time left on the clock, we kicked off and Deion returned it for a touchdown. I think there was an illegal lateral or something that got it called back. But that was my first experience with exciting Monday Night Football. And I think for the most part that's how Monday Night is, especially when you get great division rival games like we have against the Dallas Cowboys.

What look for when know gonna get handoff?
"We have a lot of, I don't wanna say leeway... check systems in our offense. We try to put ourselves in the best play, no matter what defense is given to us. So essentially what I'm doing is like being a quarterback. I'm trying to see what Eli is seeing so when he makes a decision to change the play or keep it on, I'm right there with him and I see what's happening. That allows me to see the defensive front and if I have an advantage getting to the second level or not. After I get the ball, it's, `How can I set up this linebacker or safety or whatever it is so that I have the best advantage to get by him?' Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But that's what goes through my mind with every snap. And it happens in a split second because it's not something you can consciously think about. You get used to it over the course of a career.

Ever get blindsided by a miscalculation?
"Yeah, sometimes. But I've been good about understanding where my attacker is going to come from. As a result of that, I can take glancing shots. I can sometimes change my force going to a tackle and it keeps us equalized, so I stay on my feet. There are a lot of things I've learned over the years that have made me be able to break tackles and run through tackles and anticipate contact so I don't get those kinds of shots and stay productive for the entire course of a game.

More 2-RB teams... preserve investments?
"I think that's part of it. For us, that is definitely what it is. In goal-line and short yardage situations, Brandon being 6-5 and 270 pounds and there generally is going to be 1 guy or 2 that are unblocked, he just physically is more capable of pounding through that and getting to the end zone. that's his role, that's his function. However, out in the field, because he's developed a lot more his understanding of the game -- his role in the pass game -- and being a good football player without the ball in his hands, he's taken some of my caries, which in the long run keeps me healthy, keeps me fresh. So if I do have a few plays in a row and I'm a little gassed or a little bit worn down, I can come out of the game and get fresh again and know that our offense isn't going to lose anything. I think a lot of teams are going to that. Dallas is doing pretty much the exact same things. If you look at Julius' stats compared to my stats and Marion's stats compared to Brandon's stats, they're almost identical. They're using us in the same ways, although their second-string guy is not 270 pounds and not strictly a short-yardage guy.

Team goals... so if you think Giants are close, could that bring you back?
"Probably not. There comes a time when it's just kind of _ and it's different for everybody, it's not something you can put your finger on _ over the course of a career, you realize that this is a young man's game. The pounding that you take. On Thursday afternoon, I still feel like i just got up. you realize it's a young man's game and it may be time for me to go on and do something else.

Know Julius?
"I've talked to him a couple of times. Obviously his brother was very close with me. They roomed us together when he was a first-year at UVa and I was in my fourth year. I got a chance to mentor him a little bit, but I don't really know Julius well, other than talking to Thomas about him back when I was back in college."

Brother quit, too?
"My brother thinks he's going to play forever. And hopefully will."

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