Barry Word was a surprising comeback story. Out of football for over a year and working for a telephone company in Virginia, Word was called up by the Chiefs to attend camp in 1990. He not only made the squad, Word made a potent one two punch with Christian Okoye. Possessing a similar downhill running style to the Nigerian Nightmare, Barry had 204 carries for 1015 yards and 4 TDs- netting himself NFL Comeback Player of the Year Honors.
Barry was originally a 3rd round pick by the New Orleans Saints out of Virginia in 1985. Over his 4 year career for the Cavaliers, Word rushed 405 times for 2257 yards, and 17 TDs. The problem is that Barry tested positive for Marijuana at the combine. The Saints didn’t have a problem with that. They had a problem with the conspiracy to distribute cocaine that he got busted for. The Saints let him go, but retained his rights, while Barry bode his time in prison.
Word returned to the Saints in 1987. He suited up for 12 games, and started 1 contest rushing 36 times for 133 yards and 2 TDs. The Saints were knee deep at runningback however, and in 1988, Barry just suited up for only 2 games. He’d spend the entire 1989 season out of football.
With Barry’s comeback complete, he’d play for Kansas City in 1991 and 1992. He’d be an excellent insurance policy for Okoye in the meantime. In 1993, Barry was traded to the Vikings. He’d start 8 games for Minnesota, rushing for 458 yards and 2 TDs on 142 carries. Word then signed with the Arizona Cardinals for the ’94 season, but did not see any action.
He’d retire and has been a difficult find through the mail. I decided to do a paid signing for the enigmatic back through the Philadelphia Connection. The price was so reasonable I was able to get 5 cards signed by him. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but Barry Word’s autograph is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while. It’s up there with George Zimmer from Men’s Wearhouse with just the ‘B’ and the ‘W’ being legible. The rest is well- there at least. Some great cards however of Barry graced his short lived career. Of them the ProSet 1990 is quite dynamic, and briefly during the short lived heyday of the card boom, along with its Score counterpart were valuable cards. It’s a shame that speculation and over production killed the market so badly its never completely recovered.
G/GS 72/26 Rush 705 Yds 2897 Avg 4.1 Td 16 Lg 53
Rec 30 Yds 280 Avg 9.3 Td 0 Lg 27