Peyton Barber enters his second season in the NFL this fall, but he could just as easily still be at Auburn if the circumstances had been different.
Barber, in an appearance on the HBO series “VICE” for its episode entitled “End of Amateurism” on Friday night, said he wouldn’t have left Auburn early for the NFL if he had been paid by the school.
“No, honestly,” Barber said when asked by host Gianna Toboni if he would have left early if he had been getting paid.
Barber surprised many when he declared early for the NFL draft with two full seasons of eligibility remaining following the 2015 season. He later explained at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine that the reason behind his decision was because his mother was “homeless.”
“We’d been having like some family problems for a while,” Barber told Toboni. “When you come home and, including me, there’s like five people sleeping in one room, sometimes that’s a hard thing to see. I just wanted to help my family out and provide for them.”
Barber’s mother, Lori, later clarified at the time that while she didn’t have her own home and that she had financial woes, she was living with her daughter in an apartment in Georgia.
On the episode, Lori Barber said that she wanted “to cry” when Barber opted to leave Auburn following the 2015 season.
“I want Peyton to get his education,” Lori Barber said.
Barber went undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft but signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers soon after as a free agent. After failing to make the final cut, he was signed to the practice squad, then was promoted to the 53-man roster not long afterward because of injuries at the position.
Barber played in 15 games last season and rushed for 223 yards and one touchdown on 55 attempts.
Barber also later got his mother her own apartment.
(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)
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