Tiki Barber says failures off the field after his retirement from football in 2006 led to a yearlong bout with depression.
The 36-year-old Barber, the New York Giants’ career leading rusher, acknowledged in an HBO report to be aired Tuesday that he now needs football more than it needs him.
Barber has spent the past four months working out in an attempt to make a comeback, although his chances rest on the league and its players reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.
Barber said football represents a necessary anchor in a life turned upside down by the depressive aftermath of scandalous divorce and disintegration of his television career.
“The game never needs you because there’s always someone else to come and take your place,” he said. “But right now, I need the game.”
The Associated Press attempted to telephone Barber, but his old cell phone number now leaves a message saying the person who has the number is not available.
“I need to prove to myself that I can be successful at something,” told HBO. “I know I’m going to be successful as a football player. I don’t know why. The odds say ‘No.’ I’m 36 and I haven’t played in four years. But I just know.”