It wasn't just two weeks into Pat Shurmur's new role as the Giants' head coach that he began to make calls. And not only were those calls to his current players, but they also included some past Giants as well.
One of those happened to be the best running back to date in Giants history in Tiki Barber. Despite Barber holding many Giants rushing records, he didn't have a strong relationship with the team following his retirement in 2006.
Well, it looks like Shurmur is trying to mend that bridge. Barber didn't pick up when Shurmur called, so he left a message saying, "Tik, I just wanted to call you and make a connection." Since then, Barber says he and Shurmur have been in contact multiple times.
"We've had a few conversations over the past couple of months," Barber told Newsday's Tom Rock. "I was struck by how calm he is. He's just introspective, he's thoughtful, and I appreciate that in a guy who has a very high-pressure job. At some point I'm going to go over and meet him in person, but I haven't done that yet."
Barber reflected on why his relationship with the Giants was always viewed as rocky after his final season. He said it wasn't the organization as a whole, but rather a former head coach that he didn't click with.
"It's not really the organization, it was really just Coughlin," he said. "It was Tom, not the organization. I have a really good relationship with John Mara and Jon Tisch and really everyone there. Ronnie Barnes and everybody in the front office. It was really Tom. We just never patched anything. It was still kind of hanging out there."
Barber played under Coughlin for three seasons, each of which he rushed for at least 1,500 yards. He also had his best season under Coughin when he rushed for 1,860 yards and 11 total touchdowns in 2005. He was named a First-Team All-Pro memeber and Pro Bowler that season too.
But the past is the past, and with Shurmur taking the reins for Ben McAdoo this season, he is looking to bring Barber back in the mix. It means a lot to No. 21.
"It's meaningful," Barber said. "The Giants do a really good job, and I remember this from when I was playing, of embracing their history. Carl Banks and those guys, Gary Reasons, all those guys were always around. Even Frank Gifford. Some of the coolest conversations I had were with Frank Gifford just hanging out. He would just come around. So to be back in that fold is kind of neat."
Barber played all 10 years in the NFL with the Giants after being drafted by New York in the second round back in 1997. He still reigns as the team's all-time leading rusher wtih 10,499 yards over his career.