Former Cowboys running back Marion Barber found dead in apartment: report

Marion Barber (Evan Vucci/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Marion Barber, the former Pro Bowl running back for the Dallas Cowboys, was found dead in his apartment Wednesday.

Barber was found by Frisco, Texas cops responding to a welfare call, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, citing multiple sources.

The cause of death was not immediately known, per the Star-Telegram. Local authorities are “investigating an unattended death at the location.”

Barber, 38, spent six of his seven-year NFL career with the Cowboys after Dallas selected him in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft.

“We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Marion Barber III,” the Cowboys said in a statement. “Marion was an old-school, hard-nosed football player who ran with the will to win every down.

“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.” Barber, nicknamed Marion the Barbarian for his bruising running style, rushed for 4,780 yards during his career, had a 4.1 yards-per-carry average and scored 53 touchdowns. He earned his lone Pro Bowl selection after the 2007 season when he rushed for a career-best 975 yards (4.8 ypc) and 10 touchdowns. He split time with Julius Jones and Felix Jones in the Cowboys backfield during much of his career in Dallas. His 47 TDs with the Cowboys ranks fourth in team history.

After six seasons with the Cowboys, the Minnesota native who starred at the University of Minnesota, played one season with the Chicago Bears.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of former Bears RB Marion Barber III,” the Bears said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to his family & friends.”

Barber retired from the NFL in March 2012. He dealt with mental health issues after his career.

Three years after his career ended, Barber was detained and taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. Police in Mansfield, another Dallas suburb, said it wasn’t clear what led to the calls that prompted their response.

His father, Marion Barber Jr., spent seven seasons with the Jets from 1982-1988 after being drafted in the second round of the 1981 draft. His younger brother Dominique played defensive back for the Houston Texans for four seasons (2008-2011).