Marion Barber III, a former Dallas Cowboys running back who ranked fourth in organization history with 47 rushing touchdowns, died on Wednesday, according to the team. He had been 38 years old for some time.
After spending his first six years with the Cowboys, Barber spent his final season with the Bears in 2011. Following his career, he struggled with mental health.
Police in Frisco, Texas, said they conducted a welfare check at an apartment “believed to be leased” by Barber on Wednesday and were investigating an unattended death there.
There were no clear indicators of foul play, CBS Dallas reported, citing authorities.
The Cowboys, based in Frisco, stated they were “heartbroken” by Marion Barber III’s death.
The squad described Marion as an “old-school, hard-nosed football player who ran with the desire to win every down.” “He loved his coaches and teammates and was passionate about the game.”
Marion Barber Jr., Barber’s father, spent seven seasons in the 1980s with the New York Jets.
Before Ezekiel Elliott, the two-time NFL rushing champion, passed him in 2021, the younger Barber was third on Dallas’ lifetime list for rushing touchdowns. Even though he never had a 1,000-yard rushing season, Barber finished with 53 overall and never had fewer than four in any of his seven seasons.
Despite playing only one game in 2006-07, the former Minnesota player, who was drafted in the fourth round by Dallas in 2005, has 24 touchdowns. Barber’s career high came in 2006, when he had 14 touchdowns on 654 yards rushing.
Barber’s only Pro Bowl appearance came in 2007, when he produced a career-high 975 yards rushing and ten touchdowns. From there, his role and production dwindled, and in his final year in Dallas in 2010, he set career lows in carries, yards, and touchdowns.
Barber was detained and admitted to a mental health facility three years after his career ended. Police in Mansfield, another Dallas suburb, said it was unclear what sparked the 911 calls.
Barber and his father were both Golden Gophers, and the younger Barber ranks second on the school’s career rushing touchdown chart with 35.
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Barber and Laurence Maroney, a 2006 first-round choice by New England, were the first NCAA running backs to have two 1,000-yard seasons on the same team. In 2003-04, they succeeded.
Dom Barber and Thomas Barber, Barber’s younger brothers, were also Gophers players. Dom Barber was a four-year member of the Houston Texans’ defensive backfield.