•ON HOW DESPERATE THINGS ARE FOR THE GIANTS Very. That's the only way to describe our situation. We're still in this race. We have to start playing like it. Whatever that takes, we have to figure out a way.
•ON HAVING A CAREER YEAR WHILE THE GIANTS HAVE STRUGGLED It's very tough. None of what I've done matters if we're not winning. At practice recently Tom Coughlin said, 'Tiki, you need to do more.' I knew what he meant. He wasn't talking about more yards, better numbers. He was talking about stepping up as a leader, doing whatever I could to get the best out of my teammates. That's what I'm faced with.
•ON HOLDING ON TO THE BALL THIS YEAR (ONE FUMBLE) AFTER PREVIOUS PROBLEMS WITH FUMBLING Before minicamp Coach Coughlin called me in. It was like being called to the principal's office. I walk in, and he says, 'You have talent, but your turnovers hurt the team. I want you to change how you carry the ball. I want you to hold it high and tight, and I want you to always be cognizant of it.' And that was it. It was blunt, it was honest. I was really appreciative of how he handled it.
•ON HIS OFF-SEASON WORKOUT REGIMEN Before this year I hadn't done upper-body work since I was at Virginia. In May [running backs coach] Jerald Ingram asked me how much I could bench-press. I had no idea. Turns out I could barely bench 225 pounds. It was embarrassing. I started working hard with weights, and the results were immediate. By training camp I was benching more than 325, and I'd added 12 pounds of muscle in my chest and arms.
•ON A FAVORITE OUTING IN HIS HOMETOWN OF MANHATTAN The Central Park zoo. Our [Tiki's wife's name is Ginny] two-year-old son, A.J., loves all the animals. Where else can you enjoy the jungle in the middle of so much concrete?
•ON WHOM TWINHOOD HAS BEEN TOUGHER ON, HIM OR BROTHER RONDE, A BUCS CORNERBACK Probably Ronde. We were both athletic growing up, but I was the one scoring TDs. You didn't hear as much about him, even though he's probably the better player and the better athlete.
•ON THE BARBERS' COWRITING A KIDS' BOOK, BY MY BROTHER'S SIDE My happiest memories as a child involve reading, not sports. I remember sitting in our apartment in Roanoke, Va. Ronde and I with my mother, reading books with the breeze coming in the door and Stevie Wonder on the stereo. My mother made sure reading was a priority in our lives.
•HAVE YOU EVER READ KON-TIKI? No. But I know it's about Thor Heyerdahl hoping to prove his theory of human migration across the oceans. It sounds fascinating. I think I'll go grab a copy. --As told to Josh Elliott
BARBER IS SECOND IN THE NFC WITH 1,183 YARDS. THE GIANTS (5-7) ARE A GAME OFF THE WILD CARD AND PLAY BALTIMORE ON SUNDAY
"NONE OF WHAT I'VE DONE MATTERS IF WE'RE NOT WINNING"
Photograph by Michael J. Lebrecht II/1Deuce3 Photography
ANTHONY J. CAUSI/ICON SMI (BARBER ACTION)
RAY GRABOWSKI/ICON SMI (HARRIS)
"I've been writing scripture on my nose since I was in college."--Tommie Harris, Bears DT, page 41