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Maybe Tiki Barber’s plan to come back to football isn’t going quite as planned.

Now he’s out there crying rivers to the media about how sad he was after throwing his career in the crapper behind some pretty Becky who had no qualms with stealing a pregnant woman’s husband. This Daily News article almost makes him sound like a hero.

The emptiness paralyzed Tiki Barber to the point where getting out of bed to face the day was overwhelming. One of the greatest New York Giants of them all barely could move.

There was no drive, no incentive, no reason to go anywhere, be anywhere. No real purpose to serve. Tiki Barber, his football exploits ended by his own accord, his marriage dissolving and his television career in tatters, was melting down.

“I thought, not that I had it all figured out, I thought that I had the right plan,” Barber said yesterday in an exclusive interview with The Post. “The problem with thinking and believing wholeheartedly that you have the right plan is if you’re wrong, you’ve gone all-in. And then when that falls by the wayside, you’re stuck, like I was. I won’t say depressed, but it’s kind of like I was depressed. I was still social, interacting with people, but I didn’t FEEL anything.”

“The goal is to be back where I was, back as a football player, because that’s where I was happiest, when I was successful at something,” Barber said.

I’m not worried about the age or people [saying] I’m out of touch or too old,” Barber said. “The worst that can happen is that they’re right. More than anything, this is something very personal to me to prove I can go forward with my life. Even if it’s for a year, two years, three years, even if it’s for four months. It gets me back engaged in living life.”

Word, Tiki? This has nothing to do with you needing the income?

He would also like us to believe that we’re wrong about him and his sweet, white love.

Controversy and innuendo swirled as reports surfaced that Barber was divorcing his eight-months-pregnant wife, Ginny, because of an affair with the then 23-year-old Johnson, an NBC intern. Barber insists his relationship with Johnson has been inaccurately portrayed.

“It was the negative publicity, I think,” Barber said. “Everybody goes through something negative, it’s just a matter of how big it gets. I didn’t have a relationship with Traci when she was at NBC. We were friends when we were at NBC. She had left, graduated college and was in graduate school when we became close, but that’s not the perception because of what was written.”

…And that his no longer buying a nice, wholesome role model had nothing to do with him getting fired.

“What happened? Life at NBC didn’t work out, for whatever reason,” Barber said. “I went through and am going through a divorce, and as much as you want to put on a brave face, it gets hard. There were times over the years where I didn’t even want to leave my house. I was literally sitting around doing nothing. I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything.”

This was not the man Johnson fell for.

“When we first met, he was completely motivated. He wanted to have an influence on everything, wanted to make an impact,” Johnson said. “And so it was a complete shock just to see him basically disintegrate.”

In other words, she started panicking when the checks really slowed down. Which, Tiki finally admitted, does have something to do with this “very personal” come back to football.

“Let’s face it, everything is about a job,” Barber said. “Everything is about money but it’s not the sole reason why I’m doing something. I’m not going to go play for free. Everybody needs to make a living.”

Asked about his financial situation, he added, “I am OK. It’s rough. Every divorce is rough. I’m going to come out with half of what I had. But that’s just how it is. That’s life, and I don’t begrudge Ginny or the divorce process for any of that.”

Word, Tiki? For real? How big of you.




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