SI: You've been married for five years. What do you know about the women of Manhattan?
Barber: Not a whole lot [laughs]. That's where the acting had to come in. I was never single in Manhattan.
SI: The play is about three female yuppies who lament that while their careers are flourishing, their emotional lives are a wreck. What was your role?
Barber: I played a character named Duke who is set up on a blind date with one of the ladies--the uptight one. He's a playboy. He sleeps with a lot of women, so there's a lot of tension in our scene. It's a four-scene play, and I have one scene. But it's a pretty significant amount of lines.
SI: How did you prepare for the role?
Barber: I got the play right before I went to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. I read over it a few times and got a sense of it. Then when I got back, the cast met once or twice a week for about a month to rehearse and find the lines. Then in the week before it opened we had intense rehearsals.
SI: So you studied this more than your Pro Bowl playbook?
Barber: Exactly. The Pro Bowl playbook was six plays.
SI: Does the anxiety in the theater compare with football?
Barber: My coactors were asking me the same question. I think I'm more nervous about playing football because I know I'm going to get hit. Whereas acting is more fun because I'm playing someone else. You can take chances and be vulnerable, and it's O.K.
SI: You turn 30 this month. Do you have an ideal age you'd like to play until?
Barber: I'll try to play until I'm 33 or so, and then my body will say, Enough. I'll know when I lose that step. But I'd like to go out on my own terms. Most people don't get to. The game will tell you to quit. --Richard Deitsch