Even in retirement, former Giants RB Tiki Barber can’t keep his mouth shut about his former team. This time though, Barber’s former coach, Tom Coughlin, has fired back, telling media reporters at the NFL Combine that he’s tired of the locker room squabbles that exsisted between the Giants last season, and now with Barber out the door, he hopes that things will go a lot smoother in 2007. The latest between Barber and his former coach took place this past week as the former back had a presser to announce that he will now be working for NBC on the “Today” show as well on on the Sunday Night Football telecasts.
Barber criticized Coughlin for not giving him enough rest during the practice week of the season. He said that there were days he was in so much pain he couldn’t move, and that it a big part of the reason why he walked away from the game. Barber staed that he could only go half-speed. Coach Tom fired back this time at his former back, bewilderd about all the comments already that Barber has come out with. “I do not know what this is all about,” Coughlin said. “I was under the impression he was having a press conference to announce his new role with NBC, and then to find out that he turned around and talked about something like this … I think to give the illusion that I had something to do with his retirement, I don’t quite follow that.”
Of course this is not the first time that Barber has opened his mouth about his former coach or about the Giants in general. After a shutout playoff loss last season to the Panthers, Barber was all over Coughlin. It happend again this year after the Giants went in their mid-season slump and lost a bad Monday night game at Jacksonville. Now that Barber is gone from the game, at least on the field, you would think he would give it a rest.
For Coughlin his goal for the 2007 Giants really should get them back to the form of 2005, a playoff team with a legit shot at going the distance. It also should be his goal to create a better harmoney in the locker room, and now that Barber is gone, the only real loud mouths left to get under control are TE Jeremy Shockey and WR Plaxico Burress. “Something that I’ve tried to do in our locker room is convince people that these types of matters don’t have to go outside of the team,” Coughlin said. “They stay within, they can be handled within. They don’t have to be addressed through the media.”
Easy for coach Tom to say, now we’ll see if the Giants players will follow form with it.