Former Giants running back Tiki Barber criticized Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, and questioned whether the signal caller was working hard enough during the offseason.
“He’s hanging out all the time, at the Rangers game, he’s at the Yankees game… or maybe it was a Mets game. He’s everywhere,” Barber said on the Tiki and Tierney radio show on WFAN.
Barber went on to note Wilson’s increasing celebrity status, as the 22-year-old has become a tabloid sensation in recent months, rather than being renowned for working to improve his game in the offseason.
“We’re not talking about the things that I assumed he loved to do, which is grind on football — sit for hours and watch tape, and be out of the field and overwork,” said Barber, who played 10 seasons with the Giants. “I haven’t heard that once this offseason, and that’s what worries me.”
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Despite Barber’s reservations, however, Wilson has spent time building chemistry with his teammates, including recently spending a week in Idaho with fellow members of Gang Green before training camp begins later in July.
Still, the former Big Blue rusher also made reference to recent rumors surrounding Wilson’s romantic life, which involves a longtime friend dating his ex-girlfriend, and accusations that he was involved with an older acquaintance of his mother.
“We love his love life, for whatever reason. I don’t care [about that],” Barber said. “As long as he’s balling, I don’t care.”
Despite that series of chatter not originating from Wilson (who actively sought to quell that talk), Barber suggested that Wilson was more interested in his “brand,” rather than on his game.
“I almost feel like it’s intentional, like he’s putting himself out there intentionally to build his brand, just like all of these young players who come into any sport, it’s what they do,” Barber said.
Wilson, who is heading into his second NFL season after the Jets selected him second overall in the 2021 Draft, had a forgettable rookie season, when he completed 55.6% of his passes, while recording 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 13 games played.