Marion Barber III found dead in Texas apartment

Gopher running back Marion Barber III runs away from Michigan State defenders enroute to a 4th quarter touchdown ensuring the Gophers of their first Big Ten victory of the season. ((Photo By MARLIN LEVISON/Star Tribune via Getty Images))

Former University of Minnesota and Wayzata football star Marion Barber III was found dead by authorities in Frisco, Texas Wednesday morning, according to a report from the Fort Worth-Star Telegram.

Authorities responded to a welfare concern on Wednesday at an apartment believed to be leased by Barber. That's where it's believed he was found dead.

Barber, a Plymouth native, was 38 years old and set to turn 39 on June 10. He earned All-State honors his senior year with the Trojans as a running back and defensive back. He ran for 1,778 yards and 18 touchdowns as a high school senior, and led Wayzata with 10 interceptions.

He went onto star for the Gophers at running back, finishing fourth in program history with 3,276 career rushing yards and 4,495 all-purpose yards. He was second in program history with 35 touchdowns.

Barber’s father, Marion Barber, was a Gophers’ running back from 1977-80. His brothers, Dom and Thomas, played for the Gophers as well.

"Our hearts are absolutely broken, as we lost one of the greatest to ever wear the Maroon and Gold today. Our thoughts are with the amazing Barber family during this tragic time," team officials with the Gophers said in a statement on social media Wednesday night.

Barber was the No. 109 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, and played his first six seasons in Dallas. He earned a spot in the Pro Bowl in 2007 after rushing for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns. He finished his NFL career with 4,780 rushing yards and 53 rushing touchdowns. He played for the Chicago Bears in 2011 before retiring from football in 2012.

Since his retirement, Barber had struggled with his mental health. He was detained in 2014 by Mansfield police and taken to a hospital to be evaluated for his mental health. He was also arrested in 2019 for two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief relating to a 2018 incident where he was accused of damaging two vehicles while running.

Authorities have not released Barber’s cause of death.