American Football Database
Marion Barber
File:Marion the Barbarian.jpg
Barber during a 2007 regular season game.
No. 24     
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1983-06-10) June 10, 1983 (age 39)
Place of birth: Plymouth, Minnesota
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 221 lb (100 kg)
Career information
College: Minnesota
NFL Draft: 2005 / Round: 4 / Pick: 109
Debuted in 2005 for the Dallas Cowboys
Last played in 2011 for the Chicago Bears
Career history
* Dallas Cowboys ( 2005 2010)
Career highlights and awards
* Music City Bowl MVP (2004)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 15, 2011
Rushing yards     4,780
Rushing average     4.1
Rushing TDs     53
Stats at

Marion Sylvester Barber III (born June 10, 1983) is a former American football running back who played in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons. After playing college football for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007 during his six-year tenure with the Cowboys. He played for the Chicago Bears in 2011.

He is the older brother of former Houston Texans safety Dominique Barber and the son of former New York Jets running back Marion Barber, Jr.

Early years

Barber attended Wayzata High School located in Plymouth, Minnesota and was a standout in football, baseball and track. In football, he was a SuperPrep and PrepStar All-Midwest and consensus All-State honoree as a senior running back and as a defensive back. During his last season with the Trojans, he amassed 1,778 rushing yards with 18 touchdowns and led his team with 10 interceptions (3 of which came against Gatorade National Player of the Year and future Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer).[1] In baseball, he was an Honorable Mention All-Conference center fielder. In his first and only track season, Barber qualified for the 2001 Minnesota State Class AA Championships in the 100 meters. He finished the season with a 100m time of 10.9 seconds.[2]

College career

Like his father, he played college football at the University of Minnesota where the coaches originally wanted him to play safety, but after seeing him run, they kept him at running back where he ranks fourth on the school's all-time rushing list with 3,276 yards, second with 4,495 all-purpose yards and second in rushing touchdowns with 35, one better than his father, Marion Barber Jr.. He also teamed up since his sophomore year with running back Laurence Maroney to form one of the best duo backs in the college football, becoming the first teammates in Division I (NCAA) history to each rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. He was an All-Big Ten selection in 2003 as a red shirt sophomore.

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys


After forgoing his senior season, he was selected in the fourth round (109th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. A toe infection that required surgery and some preseason fumbles left him at the bottom of the depth chart. An injury to Julius Jones and the ineffectiveness of Anthony Thomas allowed Barber to emerge, and he responded with 95 yards rushing against Seattle and 127 yards against Arizona. Along with his pass-blocking and special teams abilities, this solidified his position as the backup running back for the Cowboys.


Barber found a niche as a third-down rusher and emerged as an excellent red-zone rusher. He led the NFC with 14 rushing touchdowns in 2006. Barber finally established his role and ability as a power back.


Entering the 2007 NFL regular season, many Dallas fans called for Cowboys coach Wade Phillips to name Barber the starting tailback. However, Phillips continued to utilize the "running back by committee," sharing the load with Cowboys starting running back Julius Jones. This approach was instituted by former coach Bill Parcells.

Jim Johnson, the Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator, called Barber the hardest running back in the NFL to bring down.

During the 2007 season, Barber's power running back style earned him the nickname Marion the Barbarian and he was the league leader in breaking tackles, reflecting his personal mantra of "hit or get hit." Barber rushed for 975 yards on 204 carries and 10 rushing touchdowns with a 4.8 yards-per-carry rushing average. He caught 44 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns.

On December 18, 2007, he was named to his first Pro Bowl despite officially being a backup.[3] Barber received the start in the divisional playoff loss to the New York Giants.[4]



Barber at the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl

Dallas offered Barber, now as an unquestionable starter to the team, the highest tender as a restricted free agent. On May 20, 2008, he signed a seven-year deal, $45 million with the Cowboys with $16 million guaranteed.


The emergence of Tashard Choice and Felix Jones, and injury problems limited his success during the 2009 season. However, he played in 15 games despite a torn quadriceps muscle.[5]


Barber had a disappointing 2010 season as the entire Cowboys team struggled from game one. In 13 games Barber rushed for 374 yards on 113 carries for a 3.3 yard per carry average, the lowest of his career. His 4 rushing touchdowns were also the lowest of his career.

Chicago Bears


Barber was released by Dallas on July 28, 2011.[6] On July 30, 2011, the Bears signed Barber to a two-year, $5 million contract.[7] Barber beat out Chester Taylor (as Chester Taylor got cut) for the Chicago Bears' 2nd string Running Back position after Matt Forte.

On August 27 in the third pre-season game, Barber hurt his calf muscle and missed the first three games of the regular season due to the injury.

In Week 14 against the Denver Broncos, replacing an injured Matt Forté, Barber scored a touchdown and had his first 100 yard game since 2009 after suffering a muscle injury. More infamous, however, were a pair of gaffes made late in the game. With under two minutes left in regulation he was forced out of bounds by D.J. Williams, giving the Broncos time to score a 59-yard game-tying field goal by Matt Prater with 3 seconds left. Then, early in the overtime period, Barber lost a fumble that gave the Broncos possession to win on a 51-yard field goal. [8]

In the 2011 season Barber had 422 yards on 114 carries. Following the 2011 season, Barber announced his retirement from the NFL on March 23, 2012.[9]

Career statistics

Season Team GP–GS Rushing Receiving Fumbles
Att Yards Avg. Long TD Rec Yards Avg Long TD FUM Lost
2005 Dallas Cowboys 13–2 138 538 3.9 28 5 18 115 6.4 21 0 3 0
2006 16–1 135 654 4.8 25 14 23 196 8.5 26 2 0 0
2007 16–0 204 975 4.8 54 10 44 282 6.4 29 2 3 0
2008 15–13 238 885 3.7 35 7 52 417 8.0 70 2 7 3
2009 15-15 214 932 4.4 35 7 26 221 8.5 42 0 2 2
2010 13-10 113 374 3.3 25 4 11 49 4.5 15 0 0 0
2011 Chicago Bears 11- 114 422 3.7 29 6 5 50 10 16 0 1 1
Total 1156 4,780 4.1 54 53 179 1,330 7.4 70 6 16 6


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Matt Forté
Chicago Bears Starting Running Backs
Succeeded by
Kahlil Bell