Tiki Barber begins the year with a new job and a new life.
The former University of Virginia and New York Giants standout will return to broadcasting today as the co-host of a morning show on the new CBS Sports Radio network. It will be his first broadcasting job since NBC parted ways with Barber in 2010.
"I'm excited," Barber said in a phone interview last week. "It's something that fits my personality.
"TV is a different animal than radio - it's sound bites, it's looking good and sounding good in moments. Whereas radio is more about expressing your knowledge about things and expressing a deep, formulated opinion.... It's a different medium and one that I think suits me more because I like to talk, I like to explain things."
Barber, 37, will cohost a show from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays alongside Dana Jacobson, formerly of ESPN2's "First Take," and Brandon Tierney, a former sports radio host in San Francisco.
The show will air on more than 75 stations nationwide as part of CBS' 24-hour sports radio lineup, which launches today.
CBS announced Barber's hiring in November, part of an eventful 2012 for the ex-running back that included his divorce from his former wife, Ginny, and his marriage to Traci Lynn Johnson in July.
Now, said Barber, "there's been a lot of good things happening."
"As we turn into the new year, I'm looking forward to where my life is going," he said.
The Roanoke native said his personal and professional lives are "getting back on the right path."
"Things settled down, really, after I got divorced. A lot of acrimony in my life was a result of litigation going on, and so once that happened, I was able to take a breath again," he said.
"It's serendipity because my personal life, my professional life started to kind of find a straight path, as opposed to walking this winding, convoluted, up-and-down roller coaster."
Barber joined NBC in 2007 after retiring from the NFL. He was part of NBC's Sunday night NFL pregame show and was a correspondent for the "Today" show.
In April 2010, the New York Post reported that Barber had split from his first wife, then pregnant with twins, and was involved with Johnson, who was once an NBC intern.
"The stores... are unbelievably distorted," said Barber, who has four children with his first wife. "Traci was an intern, but we weren't together until three years after she was an intern.... The folks at CBS, they know me personally, and they can see past the perception.
"I met Traci when I was separated in 2007.... I got back together with my wife, then we got separated again. Four months later, three months later, I was fully moved in with Traci."
In the spring of 2010, NBC opted not to renew his contract.
NBC's pregame show was,?too crowded" with contributors back when he was on it, said Barber.
"It was a full house," he said. "It was the wrong fit for me on the NBC Sports side. And there were so many cuts on the NBC News side, I had trouble finding a role."
Barber figured that he had to be patient.
"There's a lot of options for people (making hires) to go through, and having left NBC in a not fantastic way, meaning it wasn't like people were clamoring for me to come do whatever somewhere else, it was... easy to not choose me," he said.
"I needed to collect myself. I needed to not be distracted on what was important, which was getting my family in order. "
Barber's new radio show will be broadcast from studios in New York, an easy trip from his new home in New Jersey.
"In New York now, people don't care. They're past it, because at the end of the day, I've worked myself out of my personal situation to where my ex and my kids and me and my new wife are doing well."
In 2011, Barber began working out for an attempted NFL comeback. He said he was "actually relieved" when he was not invited to any training camps that year.
"Back in 2011, I was literally doing nothing. I was sitting on my couch," he said. "I was still feeling in great shape. I said, 'Let me see if I can try to come back.'
"But right when I started attempting that, the (NFL)lockout came, so I never got looked at. It's just as well because I probably couldn't have done it."
He is looking forward to the daily grind of radio, where he will be working for two former bosses from when he moonlighted in radio during his NFL career.
When Barber played for the Giants, he and his twin Ronde, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers standout, had a weekly satellite radio show during the NFL season for three years. He also had his own satellite radio show.
Barber said he will be able to talk on the show about sports other than the NFL.
"When it is NFL season, I'll be able to give a very targeted perspective, but I've lived in New York for 17 years now and C.C. Sabathia's a friend, Derek Jeter, all these guys have been friends," he said. "So I have a perspective about them as well."
Barber said the show won't only be about sports. For example, he wants to bring on another friend of his, Newark, N.J., mayor and former Stanford football player Cory Booker.
"I have a lot of different interests outside of sports," Barber said.
"I can't tell you how excited I am because this is going to be an opportunity for the perception about what former athletes do in radio to change."