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What Happened to Marion Barber? Former Cowboys Rb Dies at 38

Edduin Carvajal
Jun 02, 2022
08:10 P.M.

NFL fans mourn the death of Marion Barber III, who played for the Dallas Cowboys for six years as a running back and even made it to the 2007 Pro Bowl.


On June 1, 2022, the official social media accounts of the Dallas Cowboys announced the untimely death of Marion Barber III. The team described the retired running back as an "old-school, hard-nosed" player who wanted to win every down with each run.

The statement read that Barber, who died aged 38, was passionate about football and loved his coaches and teammates. Here's everything you need to know about the late athlete.

Marion Barber III on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado | Source: Getty Images

Marion Barber III on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado | Source: Getty Images


Born in Minnesota on June 10, 1983, Barber was known as the "Barbarian" for his particular hit-first running style. He grew up with his younger brothers Dominique (Houston Texans safe) and Thomas (Golden Gophers linebacker) in Plymouth.


Barber's dad, Marion Jr., also played professional football as a running back for the New York Jets. The late Dallas Cowboys star was a natural athlete, excelling in football, baseball, and track during his high school years.

Marion Barber III on December 25, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona | Source: Getty Images

Marion Barber III on December 25, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona | Source: Getty Images

His football performance at Wayzata High School was so outstanding that he ended with 3,276 rushing yards (ranking fourth in the school's all-time list), 4,495 all-purpose yards (second), and 35 rushing touchdowns (second).

Like his dad, Barber got a football scholarship to the University of Minnesota. He only needed three years to prove that he was ready to play professionally, and the Cowboys selected him in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft.


He had his best season in 2007, helping the Cowboys finish with a 13-3 record. The Cowboys let Barber go in 2010, and he played for the Chicago Bears the following season before retiring in 2012.


Barber stayed away from the spotlight throughout his career and became reclusive after retiring. Even his friends and former teammates could frequently not get in touch with him.


[Barber] was arrested in 2019, one year after he reportedly damaged two cars.

Unfortunately, authorities found Barber dead on June 1, 2022. Police in Frisco, Texas, responded to a welfare check after a person reported a water leak coming from the former NFL star's apartment.

The agents had to force their way into the property (leased by Barber). Frisco Police and the Collin County Medical Examiner's Office are still investigating the case.


Barber had been hospitalized twice for mental health evaluations since his 2012 retirement, including one in 2014 when Mansfield police detained and took him to a hospital.

He was arrested in 2019, one year after he reportedly damaged two cars while running in Frisco. The cause of death remains unknown.



After the Cowboys announced Barber's passing, NFL fans, athletes, and friends took to social media to share heartfelt messages.

Former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett admitted to being heartbroken and described Barber as a "rare guy" who played football with love and passion.

He added that anyone fortunate enough to be around him knew he positively impacted those around him. "[Barber] made us all better," Garrett wrote.

The official Twitter accounts of the NFL and the Chicago Bears also posted about Barber's death and extended condolences to his family and loved ones. Rest in peace.

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