Marion Barber III, a onetime starting NFL running back known for his bruising style of gaining yards, died yesterday. He was 38 years old.
ESPN reported that Barber was found in what police believe was his own apartment in Frisco, Tex. They went there in response to a “welfare concern” and discovered a deceased male inside the apartment. No cause of death has been determined and it’s unclear who made the call asking for a welfare check or what prompted it.
Barber, nicknamed “Marion the Barbarian” for the way he could punish defenders, or elude them in video game style, was drafted in 2005 by the Dallas Cowboys. Over a seven-year career, he played in 99 games, starting 42. He rushed for 4,780 yards and scored 53 touchdowns according to Pro Football Reference. He retired after the 2011 season when he played 11 games, but started only one, for the Chicago Bears.
Though he had a knack for making big plays and scoring, his unique ability as a runner was probably best captured in a two-yard run against the New England Patriots in 2007.
Barber is among several NFL players or coaches to pass away recently. Arizona Cardinals defensive back Jeff Gladney was killed in a car accident on May 30 at 25 years of age. And Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins died on April 9 after being struck by a dump truck as he walked along a highway in South Florida. Haskins’ wife has said he was seeking gas after his car ran out of fuel; he was 24.
The next day, former Dallas Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown succumbed to cancer at age 52. Brown had also played for the NFL’s former Houston Oilers franchise as well as the New York Giants.