Former Cowboys running back Marion Barber III was found dead by Frisco police in his apartment on Wednesday.
They entered Barber’s apartment to perform a welfare check, and the cause of death remains unknown.
The Cowboys released the following statement regarding Barber’s passing:
“We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Marion Barber III. Marion was an old-school, hard-nosed football player who ran with the will to win every down. He had a passion for the game and love for his coaches and teammates. Our hearts go out to Marion’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Barber played six seasons in Dallas from 2005 to 2010. He then spent one year with the Chicago Bears before retiring.
Despite only suiting up in 88 games for Dallas, Barber earned a spot as one of the best running backs in Cowboys history. In franchise history, he ranks fourth in touchdowns with 47 and eighth in yards with 4,358.
The thing that makes Barber’s stats even more impressive is that he wasn’t a starter until his fourth season as a pro. In his first three seasons, he started a combined three games. In fact, his best season came in 2007 when he rushed for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns while not starting any games. Barber’s only pro bowl selection came that season.
Barber’s endurance and strength helped him avoid serious injury through his career. Through all seven seasons, Barber missed only 13 games, a majority of which came at the end of his career. While this sounds like a lot, running back is one of the most grueling positions in football and cuts many careers short for those who carry the ball as consistently as Barber did.
Marion Barber’s Best Cowboys Performances
In 2008, Barber imposed his will on the Green Bay Packers defense in a 27-16 victory.
On 28 attempts, he rushed for 142 yards and one touchdown. Dallas fans always smile a little wider after defeating the Packers and it was even sweeter seeing it in Lambeau Field.
Barber was part of three Cowboys postseason appearances, with his most prominent performance coming in 2007.
Facing the NFC East rival New York Giants, Barber averaged a whopping 4.8 yards per carry. His efficiency wasn’t in small doses, either. Barber ran the ball 27 times for 129 yards and one touchdown.
If you combine the rushing yards from every player from both teams, they still fall short of Barber’s total. Despite his dominance, Dallas would go on to lose the divisional round matchup 21-17.