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“We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Marion Barber III,” the team said. “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.”
The cause of Marion Barber’s death is unknown at this time.
Police in Frisco, Texas, said in a statement that they responded to a welfare concern Wednesday at an apartment they believed to be leased by Barber. Police also said they were investigating an unattended death at the location but didn’t identify the individual in their statement.
Barber’s career was short, but impactful.
Barber was drafted by Dallas in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL draft out of Minnesota. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2007 despite not starting a game for a 13-3 team that finished with the best record in the NFC. He led the Cowboys with 975 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns that season.
After he was released by the Cowboys following the 2010 season, Marion Barber spent one year with the Bears. He finished his career with 4,780 yards and 53 touchdowns on 1,156 carries in 99 games. He also caught 179 passes for 1,330 yards and six touchdowns.
According to ESPN, his hard-charging style earned him the nickname “Marion the Barbarian,” and he was a fan favorite.
After leaving Dallas, Barber would spend a year with the Chicago Bears before retiring from professional football and returning to North Texas.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of former Bears RB Marion Barber III,” Chicago said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to his family & friends.”
Marion Barber made headlines post-career
Per ESPN, following his retirement after the 2011 season, Barber was detained by police in Mansfield, Texas, in 2014 and taken in for a mental health evaluation. In 2019, he was arrested on two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief.
However, Barber was also known for his humanitarian efforts, working with his foundation and giving back to his community.
Joe Krywalski, a friend of Barber’s, told NBC 5 Wednesday that Barber was a great person and very generous. He said Barber was religious, played the piano and wanted to get into boxing.
Marion Barber was 38 years old.