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Giants' Barber ready to leave football behind

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants all-time leading rusher Tiki Barber said Thursday that he is firm in his decision to retire after the season.

"I've been talking about retirement for years now, and it has nothing to do with being physical or money or Hall of Fame," Barber said. "It's all about my desires, and for me to change them would compromise my integrity and would compromise who I am as a person and what I've always stood for."

Asked whether there was added pressure to win this year because of his plans, Barber said: "The pressure's always there, it's no different just because you guys know that I'm going to retire this year."

"I'm a diverse person," added Barber, who leads the league in rushing with 533 yards this season. "I have a lot of interests, and at some point it's time to execute a plan that's been in place for me for about seven and a half, eight years."

Still, Barber wouldn't commit to saying his retirement was 100 percent certain.

"It's Week 6 of the NFL season, so I won't say that," he said.

However, he also said there was "nothing" that would change his mind.

Now in his 10th season, the 31-year-old Barber said that he has been banged up more this season than in any previous one and that his passion for the game has waned.

Barber, who has spoken about retiring a couple times in the past year, has a myriad interests off the field. He has worked in television and has discussed possible jobs in finance and philanthropy.

"I have a lot of interests and I've never wanted to be solely defined as a football player," said Barber, who will earn $4.15 million this season. "I wasn't that way in high school, I wasn't that way in college and I won't compromise my ideals to be that way in the National Football League."

Longtime teammate Amani Toomer believes Barber is serious about quitting after this season.

"Knowing Tiki, he is not the type of guy to just say things," Toomer said. "Whatever he says, he means."

Linebacker Brandon Short thinks the talk of Barber's will not distract the team.

"Tiki is an outstanding player and I hope he stays with the Giants and plays forever, so I can watch him play and he can help us win some championships," Short said. "Right now, our focus is the task at hand and that's the 2006 season."

The Giants (3-2) will play the Cowboys (3-2) on Monday night in Dallas.