Catherine Marfin and David Moore
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — Marion Barber, a punishing staple in the Dallas Cowboys backfield for six seasons, was found dead Wednesday at his Frisco home.
Frisco police said officers were asked to perform a welfare check at an apartment believed to be leased by Barber and that there was an “unattended death” at the location.
The Cowboys confirmed the death of Barber — who was nine days shy of his 39th birthday — in a statement on Twitter.
“Marion was an old-school, hard-nosed football player who ran with the will to win every down,” the team said. “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 Collin County medical examiner’s office has not released the cause and manner of Barber’s death.
A 2005 fourth-round pick out of the University of Minnesota, Barber spent the first six years of his NFL career with the Cowboys before his release. He spent one season with the Chicago Bears before announcing his retirement in 2012.
Barber led the Cowboys in rushing for three consecutive seasons. The highlight of his time with the club came in 2007, when he rushed for 975 yards with 10 touchdowns and was named to the Pro Bowl for a Dallas team that compiled a 13-3 record.
Barber finished his career with 4,780 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns. He caught 179 passes for another 1,330 yards and six touchdowns.
Team officials and former teammates were saddened by Barber’s struggles in recent years.
Two years after his retirement, he was detained by Mansfield police and taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.
Barber was arrested by Prosper police in October 2019 on two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief.
Police alleged in an arrest-warrant affidavit that he had purposefully damaged two women’s cars while running on Main Street. The women said their cars suffered thousands of dollars of damages.
Barber pleaded no contest to those charges in April and was given deferred-adjudication probation.
Barber wasn’t the only member of his family with NFL ties.
His father, Marion Barber Jr., was a 1981 second-round pick of the New York Jets. Barber played 85 career games spanning seven seasons with the Jets. Dominique Barber, his brother, was a sixth-round pick of the Houston Texas in 2008.
His cousin Peyton Barber, also a running back, played for three NFL teams, most recently Las Vegas in 2021 where he appeared in 10 games.
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