Earlier this week, Tiki Barber announced that he'd like to play for the Buccaneers or the Steelers.
Not surprising: Barber wants to play for winning franchises. Even less surprising: Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh appear to have no interest in a 36-year-old running back with a ton of baggage who last played an NFL down in 2006.
But now, after a rough patch that included losing his $2 million-a-year gig with NBC and leaving his wife and kids for a 20-something former NBC intern (all while no one -- coaches, players, his brother -- came to Barber's defense), things seem to be looking up. Sort of.
Jim Fassel, the former Giants coach who's now the general manager and coach of the UFL's Las Vegas Locos, has reached out to Barber about joining his team.
"Tiki always kept himself in great shape," Fassel told USA Today recently. "There will definitely be an adjustment period for him to get in the flow of things and getting his body used to being hit again."
Realistically, Barber's best shot to play professional football again will come in the UFL. And if we're to believe his agent when he says that money isn't the main issue, then the UFL makes even more sense.
As for what kind of compensation we're talking about, Wikipedia states that "In 2010, players earned $6,250 per game, for a total of $50,000 in the regular season; participants in the 2010 UFL Championship Game were paid a total of $10,000 each, with an additional $10,000 going to each player on the winning team. Starting quarterbacks earned a $200,000 salary."
That's pocket change for NFL players, but $50,000 was the median household income in the U.S. for 2009. And even if Barber does need the money, there aren't many jobs out there that will pay him more than that; the odds that he gets another television gig anytime soon are long, as are the chances he makes an NFL roster.
"If [NFL teams] don't have as much time [to practice because of the lockout], starting players are going to get most of the reps," Fassel said. "There is not going to be a lot of time for guys who need to prove themselves."
If Barber needs added incentive to play for an old coach in a new league, Fassel led the Locos to back-to-back championships in the first two years of the five-team league.
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