"I thought it was absolutely phenomenal that he decided to come back," Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said Tuesday while standing outside the team's East Rutherford headquarters. "I thought it was good for him and I think he can still play, because he wasn’t one to take a lot of big hits, and the type of game he played, I think he can be out for four years and be able to jump in and do it."
Jacobs served as a backup to Barber in 2005-06, Jacobs' first two years in the NFL, before Barber unexpectedly decided to retire following the 2006 season. The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl the next season, while Barber went to work for NBC, where he made appearances on "Today" and covered the Giants during their playoff run.
"He’s gonna be OK," Jacobs said. "As soon as he gets that first big hit, I think he’ll be fine. He’s probably gonna get back up to 200, 205, and at that playing weight I have all the faith in the world he’s gonna be able to come back and do this."
Since Barber's playing days came to an end, he's seen his image take a series of hits, including losing the support of many Giants fans after taking shots at Eli Manning and head coach Tom Coughlin following his retirement while he was working for NBC.
Jacobs said returning to the NFL will do wonders for Barber's image.
"I spoke to him, I’ve seen him twice … he’s excited about doing it," Jacobs said. "A lot of people think he’s doing it for the wrong reasons, but I just think me, personally, he missed it. For his image, I think football is good for him. It helps build up our images, according to the way you handle it. It can break you down or it can make you a whole hell of a lot better."