Dez Bryant, Cowboys share heartfelt tributes to Marion Barber

Dec. 25, 2010; Glendale, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back (24) Marion Barber against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec. 25, 2010; Glendale, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back (24) Marion Barber against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Yesterday, Dallas Cowboys and NFL fans around the world were shocked and saddened to hear about the death of former Cowboys running back Marion Barber. Barber was found unresponsive in his Frisco, Texas, apartment after police were sent to do a welfare check.

Specific details and the cause of death have not been revealed at this time. Barber was just nine days shy of his 39th birthday. The former running back played seven years of NFL football with the first six of those as a Cowboy from 2005-2010. The devastating news was upsetting for his fans, former teammates, and coaches. Barber allegedly dealt with mental health issues after his retirement.

One person in particular who was saddened by the news was Barber’s former teammate Dez Bryant. The two were teammates for just one season in 2010. It was Barber’s last year with Dallas and Bryant’s rookie season.

Last July, Bryant tweeted out a video of Barber’s football highlights and wrote that he couldn’t even enjoy the highlights because he knew that Barber was “down and out bad.” It’s as if the former wide receiver was trying to warn people about where the retired player was at in his life. The 3x Pro Bowler added that football players are just stats and moments to most people. That, to him, was a major issue.

Dez Bryant, former Cowboys, and others in the NFL community give heartfelt tributes to Marion Barber

A short bit after the news broke about Barber’s death, Bryant quote retweeted his initial tweet about Barber from just about a year ago with a video of how he felt in the aftermath. Bryant seemed concerned about the mental wellness of former athletes around the league. Here is a small excerpt from his video:

"“We have to bring unity amongst each other, that’s why I hit y’all up. You know who you are, and I’m very appreciative to the ones that respond back. I don’t know what you think. I ain’t clout chasing,” Bryant continued. “I don’t care about none of that… We all deserve to live like kings if you ask me. Gotta find these answers and that’s up to us. RIP Marion Barber. RIP Demaryius Thomas. RIP to all our fallen soldiers. I love y’all.”"

Many others took to social media to react to the tragic and sudden loss of Barber as well. One of the first was the Cowboys organization, the ones who confirmed the death to local reporters.

The Cowboys pointed out how passionate and determined the running back was as a player.

Jason Garrett, who was an offensive coordinator and assistant head coach while Barber was with Dallas, had incredibly kind words to say in a lengthy Twitter thread. Garrett said he was a rare player who had a relentless spirit.

Former teammate and current ESPN analyst Marcus Spears expressed his absolute shock at the situation.

Hall of Famer Terrell Owens, who was Barber’s teammate for three years, told social media that he was heartbroken.

Teammate Roy Williams shared that he had just seen Barber recently and was thrilled to see him. Williams also shared the sentiment that people should check in on their loved ones.

Longtime NFL RB Mark Ingram shared that he used to watch Barber play growing up.

Former Cowboys CB Terence Newman asked the Twitter world to share their favorite memories about his former teammate.

Former Cowboys RB and current Texas Longhorns RB coach Tashard Choice said Barber was one of the best people he’s ever played with.

Former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells told the Dallas Morning News that Barber was almost a perfect player.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Marion Barber’s family and loved ones during this difficult time. The outpour of kind messages clearly shows how wonderful of a player and person he was and how much of an impact he had on this league and team.

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