Skip to main content
Houston Texans

Oh Brother Where Art Thou


Marion III and Dominique are separated by three years and will face each other for the first time professionally Friday night.

Please pardon Marion Barber Jr. if his emotions bubble over during the Texans-Cowboys preseason game Friday night.

See, on one side of the field, wearing the battle red of the Texans will be Marion and Karen Barber's middle son, Dominique, a rookie sixth-round draft pick from Dad's alma mater, Minnesota.

On the other side, wearing the star of the Dallas Cowboys, will be Marion Barber III, the couple's oldest son, a third-year running back, also from Dad's old school.

"I'm kind of a sentimentalist," the father said. "I most likely will cry at some point in the game, but the wife and I are planning on going down Friday morning. It's so exciting for them and the opportunity that's been presented to them."

Barber, a former New York Jets running back, and his wife will be watching their sons appearing on the same field for the first time as pros. They never played together at Wayzata High School outside of Minneapolis and have been teammates only once, during Dominique's freshman year at Minnesota when Marion III was a senior.

"It would be a dream come true," Dominique said. "Just the fact to be at the highest level of football and to be on the same field with my brother, I'd be speechless. I'd just go out there and play football."

{QUOTE}This is a very supportive sibling relationship.

"We talk every day, even if it's just briefly, 'Hi, how you doin', how's your body?'" Dominique said. "We have a great relationship. I'm excited to see him on Friday. I'm sure if I get out there and he's out there, we'll exchange some words, but my mind is on helping the team find a way to get a 'W.' That's the main goal."

The Barbers already are plotting travel plans that include not only the Cowboys' and Texans' schedules, but that of their 10-year old son who plays hockey and this year started playing tackle football.

The big question for Friday is what to do to support both sons. Do they take a presidential approach and sit for one half on each side of the stadium?

"I know a guy who does t-shirts and I'm thinking about asking him to have one side Texans and one side Cowboys and also a Sherlock Holmes cap," the elder Barber said. "We're going to represent both of them. I don't have anything big that says Texans, so I'll probably wear a Dallas t-shirt and Texans shorts.

"They'll be well-represented by both of us."

The Barbers will adjust their wardrobe as necessary. They'll surely get double-takes Friday night, wearing the colors of both teams. They don't care. It's about family.

"They've always been competitive with each other," Barber said. "The biggest thing is we never saw them playing on the same high school teams. There were three years difference in their age and that was something we looked forward to as they started to excel and experience some successes in football."

Finally, it happened with the Golden Gophers.

"It didn't happen in high school, but it did happen in college," Barber said. "They got to play one year, Marion's last year at the University of Minnesota, Dom's freshman year and they went to a bowl that year."

Playing against his Pro Bowl brother for the first time crept up on Dominique.

"It was actually after I got drafted, my little brother saw it," Dominique said. "He said, 'You play Dallas in week three (of the preseason).' It didn't really hit me."

The Barbers are happy both their sons are playing in one state, just as they did through college.

"They both went to school right here in the state (Minnesota) and 17 miles from home," Barber said. "For both of them, this was the first time they'd been away from home. Dom adapted a little more, of course, he had Marion there to help him understand the rigors of training camp."

Marion and Karen are accustomed to juggling their schedules to support their athletic sons.

"We're going to do a lot of driving,'' Barber senior laughed. "My wife and I were looking at the schedule to see which games we could hit.

"I remember one year Dom was in high school and it was the year Minnesota had a Friday night game," Barber said. "My wife went to the Gopher- Michigan game and Dom had a big game against a conference rival, so I went to that.

"She was there trying to tell me what was going on at the Gopher game and I was trying to tell her about the high school game. If worse comes to worse, that's something we'll probably do again. She'll go one way and I'll go the other."

The Barbers are looking for more photos of their sons in action. They had one photo after their final game together at Minnesota.

"The only snapshot we have of them together is after that game," Barber said. "It was a joy for us to watch them succeed in their chosen endeavors."

Barber knows his sons' habits, including Marion III's quiet nature. He knows his oldest son is excited about facing his brother, he just might not say so.

"If you don't know about Marion, he isn't the most talkative guy when it comes to dealing with the media," the father laughed. "I thought I'd warn you."

Dominique, a safety, speaks for both of them and he isn't sure of his reaction if he gets to put a hit on his older brother.

"I'd probably help him up as part of brotherly love, but that's just a split second and then I'd have to get back in the lineup and have another play," Dominique said.

That could be the Kodak moment that brings on the watery eyes. Don't worry Marion. On certain occasions, it's OK for grown men to cry.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Michael A. Lutz worked for The Associated Press for 38 years covering news and sports in Louisville, Ky. Dallas and Houston. Most of that time was spent in Houston covering the Oilers, Astros, Texans and other college and pro sports.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content