Bill Parcells considered him a closer. Jerry Jones gave him a ton of money. At one point we called him "The Barbarian."
But at this point, Dallas Cowboys' running back Marion Barber is just a minimal role player. Right?
Barber went to the Pro Bowl as a backup in 2007, but since has steadily, dramatically regressed. More than run over people, he suffers nagging injuries yet somehow wildly jumps up to celebrate 3-yard runs.
Consider this: Felix Jones may not technically "start" every game, but he's become the Cowboys' featured back. By the end of the season - barring injury, of course - he'll have the most carries. (He also, for what it's worth, now outweighs Barber.) Jones is also one of Dallas' kickoff returners. And Tashard Choice has a pivotal role running the Wild Hog, as the third-down back and on special teams.
Where exactly does that leave Barber?
To me, he's an overpaid, under-producing back that more than likely will have minimal impact on Sunday's opener at Washington and beyond. In goal-line/short-yardage situations I still think the Cowboys believe in giving the ball to Barber behind right guard Leonard Davis. I just don't know that I believe in "The Barbarian" anymore.
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For what it's worth, Barber did his annual, one-time, forced-at-gunpoint interview with the media Wednesday at Valley Ranch. He's polite to guys like me, just doesn't like to be interviewed. Which is cool by me.
As usual, yesterday was short, and not so sweet:
Asked to evaluate Dallas' three-headed monster at running back, Barber opined "It's all good. We come to work every day, just go hard in practice and it helps all of us as a whole."
Appears one of Barber's role will continue not to be team spokesman.