Archive for Monday, November 20, 2006

Aging running backs will lead teams tonight

November 20, 2006


— Giants running back Tiki Barber plans to retire. Jaguars running back Fred Taylor wants a new contract.

Even though the over-30 running backs have different views about the future, both are thriving in "old age" this season.

"It's a tough position because we have a target on our backs every single time we touch the ball," Taylor said. "You've just got to have that will, a desire to want to keep going. You can easily shut it down. It's easy to step down as opposed to step up.

"At the end of the day, we've both been blessed."

The 31-year-old Barber led the NFL before Sunday's games with 971 yards rushing and is averaging 5.1 yards a carry. The 30-year-old Taylor is averaging 4.7 yards a carry and ranks 13th with 696 yards despite sharing time with rookie Maurice Drew.

The aging backs have been their team's best offensive players this season and may be relied on to carry the load tonight when Jacksonville (5-4) entertains New York (6-3).

"You've got two very good veteran running backs, both playing at a high level," Jags coach Jack Del Rio said. "It makes for a great matchup."

Aside from their success this season and being two of the league's four starting running backs over the age of 30, Barber and Taylor have little in common.

Barber said he planned to retire at the end of the year, calling it quits after 10 seasons and prompting debate about whether he should leave the game while still so productive.

"I can honestly tell you it has been no distraction whatsoever," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "I spoke with Tiki about it right away and the basic position that he and I have both taken is that any time in the offseason we talked, we talked about winning and we talked about winning now and that nothing has changed."


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