(Oct. 19, 2006) -- Two days after stating that he was leaning toward retiring after this season, Tiki Barber elaborated on his comments in a Q&A with the New York Giants media relations staff:
Q: Are you amazed about the firestorm that one thing you said on Tuesday started?
A: A little bit. If you know me, this isn't a surprise. If you've ever listened to me, you know that I've said it before. For some reason, it just has legs this time. I don't know why.
Q: Why did you say it the way you said it at that time?
A: Well, I didn't say it that way at that time. John Branch was following me around for a story that he's doing on my brother and I, so he came on our book tour. Ronde was in town, you know, Fox & Friends, Good Morning America and the rounds that we took. Literally, he was with me for 15 hours, and over the course of a day, you kind of pick up on things. Things that I say on a regular basis, interactions that I have with my manager, Mark Lepselter, about my future. At some point he just said, 'I think you're retiring. Is there anything that can stop you?' And I just said, 'Nothing.'
Q: Some people say when you think about retirement, you're already retired.
A: Did you watch me play last week? Did you watch me run for 1,860 yards last year? I've been talking about retirement for years now, and it has nothing to do with being physical or money or Hall of Fame. It's all about my desires, and for me to change them would compromise my integrity and would compromise who I am as a person and what I've always stood for. I do have an ego, but I'm not egotistical enough to say that I want to be the best, because I've never been that way. I'm a diverse person. I have a lot of interests, and at some point it's time to execute a plan that's been in place for me for about seven-and-a-half, eight years. Sometimes, it's time.
Q: Is it 100 percent?
A: It's Week 6 of the NFL season, so I won't say that. I know that I have the Dallas Cowboys to come this week, and I have 10 games after that. That's what's important. That's what's important for this locker room. This is a story for you guys and the fans, but for the guys in this locker room, we're worried about winning the Super Bowl, which is our stated goal at the beginning of the season and what I've been trying to do all season long.
Q: Did the Barry Sanders experience play into this a little bit?
A: Not really. I talked to Barry at the beginning of the season, actually, on one of my radio shows. He said at some point, you just lose your passion for it. You get beat up enough times, you realize it's a young man's game and you want to do something else. I'm sure all of that plays in, but like I said, I have a lot of interests and I've never wanted to be solely defined as a football player. I wasn't that way in high school, I wasn't that way in college and I won't compromise my ideals to be that way in the National Football League. I do my job and I do it well, but I also know that there's other things that I can do well that I'll get to eventually.
Q: Are you hopeful that this doesn't become a distraction to your teammates?
A: It's not a distraction to my teammates, because this is purely personal. This has nothing to do with what we're going to do the next 11 weeks of the season. Maybe it affects the New York Giants for 2007, but it does not affect the 2006 Giants. For anyone to suggest that this is a distraction to my teammates or my coaches, they're off base, and maybe playing to their own egos and not mine.
Q: Is this a thought that weighs a little more heavily on your mind in the mornings after a game?
A: After playing in Philadelphia and have Jeramiah Trotter kick my butt for 60 minutes, it does wear on your mind a little bit. All of those factors come into play, but not one in particular pushes me into a decision. It's literally a discussion that I've had with myself and with those close to me for the last year-and-a-half, two years, and if you know me, it's not a surprise.
Q: Do you anticipate it being a very difficult decision at the end of the year?
A: I really don't think it will be a difficult decision. I'm committed to my convictions. I always have been. It's what made me a good football player, and it's what will make me be successful in anything else I choose to do in my life.