Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has significant authority on personnel decisions but does he have enough to sway ownerships opinion on Tiki Barber?
The former star running back is attempting a return to the NFL and has his sights set on Pittsburgh and New England.
Barber, 36, and his agent reached out to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin months ago as Tomlin and Barber’s twin brother Ronde were extremely close in Tampa Bay.
Sources say Tomlin has interest in bringing Barber into camp but it’s unknown whether ownership will sign off due to Barbers personal issues and how he left his wife 8 months pregnant with twins.
That situation according to one report from Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette (few months back), won’t let Tomlin bring Barber into the organization.
However, there’s continues to be some chatter that the Steelers intend to bring Barber in for a workout once the lockout is over.
SI.com’s Peter King fueled the speculation this morning:
“My educated guess, and maybe a little more than that, is Pittsburgh will be Tiki Barber’s landing spot this summer when he tries to return to football after four seasons away.
The Steelers have a head coach the Barber family knows well — Mike Tomlin is close to twin Ronde Barber after coaching him in Tampa from 2001 to 2005 and also knows Tiki. Tomlin wouldn’t be afraid of the sideshow Tiki Barber might create, nor would he be shy about pulling the plug if the 36-year-old back couldn’t beat out the likes of Mewelde Moore.
The Steelers have a core of veteran stars; Tiki Barber would fit right in. The Steelers have a good back, Rashard Mendenhall, but no back-of-the-future type who Barber would be robbing playing time from. And one NFL source tells me Barber really wants a shot to play in Pittsburgh. I’m also told that wherever he goes, Barber won’t be content to be a mopup guy or insurance policy; he wants to play a lot. We’ll see where he ends up this summer, if and when football happens, but Pittsburgh’s my guess”
Barber last played in 2006, when he rushed for 1,662 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Barber had a career high 1,860 rushing yards in 2005 and from 1999-2006, caught 54 passes or more per season.
In 10 NFL seasons, Barber has 10,449 rushing yards and 55 touchdowns.