Chicago Bears running back Marion Barber is retiring after seven years in the NFL.
I want to thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to play, and I'm very thankful to have had the chance to suit up for two of the NFL's most storied organizations, Barber said on the Bears website. I want to thank everyone who helped me become a better player. I owe a lot to a lot of coaches, and am also very grateful to the owners and organizations I played for. Last but not least, I want to thank the fans for the support and inspiration they gave me.
Unfortunately, out of the seven seasons played with the Dallas Cowboys and the Bears, we will remember Barber for his disastrous and, for Bears fans, heartbreaking performance in the Week 14 loss last season to the Denver Broncos.
The 13-10 overtime victory by the Broncos was one of former Denver quarterback Tim Tebow's impressive comeback performances, but he had Barber's miscues to thank.
With under two minutes to go in the game, the Broncos out of timeouts and the Bears up 10-7, all Barber had to do was run the ball and fall in bounds. But he ran towards the sidelines, going out of bounds.
That left time on the clock for the Broncos to drive, leading to a 59-yard kick by Matt Prater that sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, Barber fumbled with Chicago in field goal range. Tebow led Denver on a 33-yard drive that culminated in a game-winning 51-yard kick by Prater.
The win helped propel the Broncos them into the playoffs while blowing Chicago's post-season chances.
Barber has yet to talk about the game to this day, but his teammates said would not scapegoat him, pointing out he had an impressive 100-plus-yard rushing performance to go with a touchdown substituting for main Bears running back Matt Forte.
Marion was the reason we were in the game in the first place, receiver Devin Hester said at the time to the Denver Post. (The fumble) was just a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes. It was just Marion's mistake that stood out.
In Barber's career, he scored 53 rushing touchdowns and averaged 4.1 yards per carry.
Maybe Barber's retirement will give him the opportunity to open up the game whose result has weighed so heavily on his mind.