When running back Tiki Barber announced his plans to retire during the 2006 NFL season, many fans were left stunned at his timing. He was still at the top of his game and appeared to have several years left ahead of him. However, a poor relationship with head coach Tom Coughlin was more than the Pro Powler cared to handle in his remaining years, so he opted to step away from the game and pursue a career in broadcasting.
Although a bit bitter that he left due to several disagreements with the coach, fans accepted Barber's decision to retire, expressed their gratitude and wished him well. It wasn't until August of 2007, when Barber criticized quarterback Eli Manning's "lack of leadership" on National television, saying his pre-game speeches were "almost comical", that the bridge began to burn.
That bridge was ultimately reduced to ashes over the next several years as Barber then began to criticize former coach Tom Coughlin, who Barber felt tried to "vilify him."
However, while watching highlights of seasons past over the weekend, defensive end Osi Umenyiora decided it's time for the fans to forgive Barber and to simply respect what the man did for the team. He made a simple plea, via Twitter, for Big Blue faithful to let bygones be bygones.
"Watching a highlight video from Giants 2005 season. Tiki Barber was ridiculous. Giants fans please forgive that man. No more boo's. #legend," Umenyiora tweeted.
While fans will acknowledge Barber's talent and contributions to the team, many refuse to forgive the running back and a plea from Umenyiora will not likely change that. The vast majority insist on a public apology from Barber, and anything short of that will only continue to result in boos.
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