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FRISCO, Texas – Former Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears running back Marion Barber III has died at the age of 38, the Cowboys said in a statement Wednesday.
“We are devastated by the tragic death of Marion Barber III,” the team said. “Marion was an old-fashioned, tough-handed football player who ran with the will to win every downturn. 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. Time.”
The cause of Barber’s death is unknown.
Police in Frisco, Texas, said in a statement that they responded to a welfare concern Wednesday in an apartment they believed was rented by Barber. Police said they were investigating an unattended death at the scene but did not identify the person in their statement.
“The NFL mourns the tragic loss of Marion Barber III and we express our deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones,” the league said in a statement.
Barber was drafted by Dallas in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL draft from Minnesota. He was named the Pro Bowl in 2007 despite not starting a game for a 13-3 team that finished with the best record in the NFC. He led the Cowboys with 975 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns that season.
After being released by the Cowboys after the 2010 season, he spent a year with the Bears. He has finished his career with 4,780 yards and 53 touchdowns on 1,156 carries in 99 games. He also caught 179 passes for 1,330 yards and six touchdowns.
His tough charging style earned him the nickname “Marion the Barbarian” and he was a fan favorite.
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of former Bears RB Marion Barber III,” Chicago said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”
Following his retirement after the 2011 season, Barber was detained by police in Mansfield, Texas, in 2014 and taken for a mental health evaluation. In 2019, he was arrested on two charges of criminal misconduct.