2006-09, he was adequately nicknamed the "Barbarian." He ran with an attitude that resembled a middle linebacker, yet he had the ball in his hands.
Marion Barber was one of the most exciting players the Cowboys have had in the last few years.
It seems like most people I've talked to are completely "done" with this guy. It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world. I get that. So it really doesn't matter to most people what type of player Barber was a few years ago. Same goes with Newman, Davis or whoever. It's all about right now.
And that's fine. Right now, Barber is probably on his way out unless he decides to take a serious pay cut. Either he takes one with the Cowboys, or he probably gets released and then will take one with another team.
That's really the point to Barber's situation all along. He's never been a bad player. He just ended with a horrible contract.
Was that his fault? Remember that he switched agents to Drew Rosenhaus, knowing there was a big payday on the horizon. And even though he had never rushed for 1,000 yards in a season and hadn't even been a regular starter, Barber got a five-year, $45 million contract. Was that his fault for signing it? Who wouldn't do that?
We all wondered out loud if that was the right decision for the Cowboys, but they didn't ask us. In fact, the Cowboys tried to beat a league-mandated deadline to avoid the 30 percent rule and signed Barber and Newman to big contracts under the previous league rules.
As it turned out, it was a bad contract for Barber. His production failed to match his salary and therefore it will probably cost him his job.
Sure, Barber has been ridiculed up and down for being a bum or being a waste of money, or someone who doesn't care about football, or whatever else you want to say. And I admit, I've been there for some of that. I've criticized this guy because I've thought at times he has left his teammates out to dry when it comes to the media. When things were swirling downward and nobody had answers in 2008 or last year to why things were so bad, he sat there and played dominoes daily while guys like Bradie James, Keith Brooking, Tony Romo and Jason Witten searched for answers. That's fine if you're not a captain, but if your teammates vote you as one, then you should act like one.
Again, that's really my only beef with Barber. I actually think he's a better player than people give him credit for and personally, I wouldn't let him go. I would definitely try to restructure his deal, but I do think he's one of the top three backs on this team and his services are needed.
All that being said, whatever happens with Barber, let's try to take at least a few seconds to reflect on the fact he WAS a very good, productive player who had some thrilling moments for this franchise.
At least we could give him that.