PHOTOPHILE- Torch for Tiki: Locals clamor for idol chatter

If his fans were angry with him for quitting football, they're not any more. Former UVA and NFL Giants football star Tiki Barber was back in town on Friday, October 26, to promote his new book, Tiki: My Life in the Game and Beyond, and at least 500 fans– young and old– came out to rub shoulders and get copies of his book autographed. 

Many admirers showed up at the UVA Bookstore hours before the event: by the time Barber arrived, the line extended through the mezzanine level of the bookstore, down the stairs, and out into Friday night's rain.

Barber's new book is a memoir that "weaves together life and sports," he says. "I hope that people will get some inspiration and aspirations from it." 

The book should appeal to Virginia residents, he added, because so many important parts of his life happened here. "This is the place where I became a man and learned social responsibility," he says.

Barber retired from football at the end of the 2006 NFL season over disagreements with Giants coach Tom Coughlin and to save his body from the ravages of the sport. Currently working as an NBC Today Show correspondent and football analyst, Barber says he has no regrets about quitting football. "My body feels great, and my psyche feels great," he says.

Indeed, Barber looked happy and relaxed as he chatted with people and wrote them long personal notes. Many hopefuls waited at the 5pm event with multiple copies of his new book as well as his earlier children's books. As the night wore on and more and more fans arrived, it seemed clear that retirement from football may not be as easy for Barber as it first appeared, and that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may well prove to be his next big physical challenge.

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