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Monday, March 12, 2007

the story behind the story about Tiki retiring

From Pro Football Weekly-online edition you know i'll have something to say about this!!
Barber upsets Coughlin in initial foray into media career
By Trent Modglin
March 11, 2007

Tiki Barber is already walking that thin line, the one many before him have toed with caution, some without. Former players who turn in the helmet and cleats for the designer suit, microphone and sharp-witted opinions that make people want to tune in on Sundays.

As the media world’s newest and most anticipated addition, he waited but a few minutes after ending the day job he has had for the past 10 years — that being running back of the Giants — to lay into his former boss, Tom Coughlin.

Barber will work on NBC’s “Today Show” and on the network’s Sunday-night football coverage. At his introduction as the newest member of “Today,” Barber didn’t hold back in ripping into Coughlin, suggesting that it should be considered an “act of God” that the physical demands the coach placed on him in New York did not result in any serious injuries.

“Coach Coughlin is very hard-nosed, and I didn’t get a lot of time off, couldn’t sit down and rest myself, and so it was a constant grind — a physical grind on me that started to take its toll,” Barber told reporters at the press conference.

“The grind took its toll on me and really forced me to start thinking about what I wanted to do next. And that’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing, for me at least. Maybe not for the Giants, because they lose one of their great players, but for me, it is.

“We were in full pads for 17 weeks, and with the amount of injuries that we had, it just takes a toll on you. You just physically don’t want to be out there when your body feels the way you do in full pads. And while it probably doesn’t have a really detrimental effect on how you practice or how you play, it does on your mind. And if you lose your mind in this game, you lose a lot.”

This was not the first time Barber had been openly critical of Coughlin. He said the Giants were outcoached after a playoff loss to the Panthers a year ago and bristled at the play-calling after another game. He also had a much-publicized spat with Giants DE Michael Strahan over Strahan’s contract squabble with the team.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Barber has plenty of friends in the Giants’ locker room and around the NFL. His twin brother, Ronde, with whom he hosts a weekly Sirius satellite radio show, still plays for the Buccaneers. And now, as Barber changes gears professionally, he will be asked to further analyze, to pick apart and dissect, and ultimately, to criticize his peers.

No more cookie-cutter, P.R.-sanitized answers to mundane, everyday questions. No more holding back for the sake of wondering whose feathers you might ruffle. He’s not getting paid to run the football anymore. He’s getting paid to observe and to speak his mind.

As a member of the media, the challenge for Tiki is to be unbiased, to challenge those who need it. To use his vast playing experience and the fact he’s so recently removed from the game to provide insight and knowledge that viewers wouldn’t ordinarily have been privy to. But some of the people he will put under the microscope will undoubtedly be the same he sought out for a hug after games. Those he had dinner with on the road on Saturday night before games. Those he will be relying on for inside information from around the NFL.

Jerome Bettis, his new teammate on NBC’s Sunday-night broadcast, could share a piece of advice. Early in his tenure with the media, Bettis upset his former head coach, Bill Cowher, by saying he believed Cowher would retire after their Super Bowl title with the Steelers a year ago. Turns out, Cowher stepped down this year, so Bettis was actually only a season off with his prediction, but injecting his opinion when he did still disappointed his beloved coach.

Coughlin, too, was annoyed at Barber’s parting shots. Mostly, he was upset that Barber didn’t discuss it directly with him. Why Barber had to lay it out in front of reporters as opposed to in his office, he’ll never know. Like the rest of us, Coughlin assumed the press conference was designed to announce Barber’s new gig with NBC. And it was. But Barber also found time to hit a few scathing notes before the nameplate could even be changed above his locker.

“I think to give the illusion that I had something to do with his retirement, I don’t quite follow that,” Coughlin said.

And let’s keep one more thing in perspective here. Coughlin helped make the Tiki Barber we know. The one with multiple Pro Bowl appearances. The star.

Before Coughlin arrived in New York, Barber’s high mark for rushing yards in a season was 1,387. And he fumbled the football more than our president does words, coughing up the pigskin 40 times from 2000-04. In three seasons under Coughlin, Barber rushed for 1,518, 1,860 and 1,662 yards and eliminated the aforementioned fumbling problems by holding the ball upright, tight to his body, the way Coughlin taught him. He fumbled only four times the past two seasons.

I admire Barber for having the guts to leave the game in his prime, when he was ready, before his body or a general manager was the one telling him it was time to go. If Stephen King wanted to stop writing and become, say, a painter, who are we to judge? If Julia Roberts wanted to put an end to her acting career and start a day care, it’s her prerogative. As fans, we’re selfish and long to see more, but it’s their lives.

In my experience, far too many media types let athletes off easy, asking the softball questions or offering glossed-over, obvious evaluations that provide us with nothing. What we have grown to expect out of studio analysts like Tom Jackson, Merril Hoge, Cris Collinsworth or Howie Long, however, is more honest, forthright assessments. We want to see the game through their eyes, and they often let us. And I have no doubt Barber will be good at this aspect of the job. He is smooth, articulate, bright and, as we’ve seen on occasion, opinionated.

But taking a shot at a former coach who did so much for your career, intimating that his disciplinarian style — which has been well-documented in the past — helped hasten your decision to leave stage left, seemed unnecessary and a harsh way to part ways. Perhaps that’s why Barber’s representative, in response to my request, said Barber wasn’t currently doing any further interviews.

And despite his training on radio and TV’s “Fox and Friends,” I guess that’s part of the challenge of his new gig. To learn what to say and when to say it. To objectively critique without coddling (the opposite of Michael Irvin) or coming off resentful. And since Barber is a twin, his new boss said he has a backup plan.

“On those days when you’re not feeling well, we’ll just call Tampa Bay and get your brother,” NBC News president Steve Capus said.

Wonder if that made Jon Gruden nervous?

Forget about John Gruden for a minute.

So everyone now thinks Tiki retired because Coughlin was pushing him too hard, leading to the perception that Tiki is "Soft"
Soft is not 6 strait 1,000+ yard seasons. Soft is not 4 fumbles in 3 years once he changed his style of carrying the ball.
Your not soft when you say" It's time to hang it up" before your body tells you to. Tiki's just speaking his mind, and last i heard, you are allowed to do that in this country.....

NY Giants Trade with Cleveland Browns: Give Tim Carter Get Ruben Droughns

Team's first move: Adding Droughns

The Giants acquired running back Reuben Droughns from the Browns on Friday for underachieving wide receiver Tim Carter, ending their search for a complement to Brandon Jacobs and a week of inactivity since free agency began.

Droughns, 28, rushed for 1,240 yards for the Broncos in 2004 and 1,232 with the Browns in 2005 but had only 758 this past season. He became expendable after the Browns signed Jamal Lewis.

Carter, 27, has been expendable for nearly as long as he's been a Giant. Drafted in the second round in 2002, he caught only 72 passes in 53 games. Plagued by injuries, Carter was unable to live up to his promise as a speed demon.

The Giants acted fast yesterday after Dominic Rhodes, who came in for a visit March 2 - the first day of free agency - signed a two-year deal with the Raiders worth as much as $7.5 million.

"I realize the perception is that we haven't done anything through the first week of free agency because we haven't signed any unrestricted free agents," Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. "The opposite is true. We have been working very hard to do what's best for this franchise. The fact is we had a few guys we had targeted that would have made sense for us under the right circumstances.

"A couple of those simply didn't work out, but there is a whole lot of the free-agency period left and the draft and the rest of the offseason for us to continue to build this roster, and we're going to work smartly in doing that."

In an interview on Sirius satellite radio, Droughns dismissed any problems he might have working behind Jacobs or with coach Tom Coughlin.

"For most teams, it's been a two-back system," he said. "The two teams in the Super Bowl this year had a two-back system, so we're going to complement each other very well."

As for Coughlin, who is under pressure to win this year, Droughns said: "I just know he's a good coach. You hear your rumors and everything, but his record speaks for itself. He does a good job getting the guys ready and prepared to play.

"I've had a lot of disciplinarian coaches in my past, so I'm sure it won't be too much of a problem at all."

Droughns is due $5.75 million over the next three seasons, though a report Friday indicated that his contract has been re-worked by the Giants.

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