Terence Newman said upon learning about Marion Barber’s death that he was “scared” when last seeing his former Dallas Cowboys teammate years earlier.
Newman paused from discussing the physical and mental grind of football to see multiple texts about Barber, which led the former cornerback to recall their last encounter.
“I had seen Marion three years ago just before I moved out here. It was raining and I’m driving to the gas station … So I see this guy walking down the street — in the rain. I get to the gas station and it’s Marion. I hadn’t seen Marion in a while, but I heard he had fallen on hard times and wasn’t doing too well.
“So, we talked and exchanged numbers but I was scared when I saw him. He looked bad. He looked like he wasn’t there, like he was a different person, like he couldn’t function. And that’s probably why he was walking and not driving. When I tell you I was scared, I thought he might swing on me. I was actually scared.”
Newman speculated that he believed concussions “had to play some type of role in whatever happened to him.”
“He had a look but also his face was just droopy,” Newman continued. “It looked like he was homeless. Like he lived on the streets. I guess he had so many concussions that it really impacted him.”
Before finding about about Barber’s death, Newman discussed former college teammate Jarrod Cooper, who has experienced symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease caused by repeated head trauma. Newman said players like Cooper and Junior Seau, who was later found to have CTE after dying by suicide in 2012, would advocate for “more of a finesse game.”
Newman played with Barber throughout the running back’s full Cowboys tenure from 2005 to 2010. During those six seasons, Barber handled 1,042 carries for 4,358 rushing yards and 47 touchdowns.
No cause has yet to be given for Barber’s death.