LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears running back Marion Barber received an official warning from the NFL for his failure to comply with the league's 2011 media relations policy following the club's overtime loss in Denver, according to a team spokesperson.
The Bears instructed Barber on Wednesday to field questions from the Chicago media, but the running back was a no-show in the 45-minute open locker room period prior to practice, then refused to stop when approached following the Bears indoors workout at the Walter Payton Center.
The next step for Barber will be a fine if he continues to dodge his media obligations.
Under the guidelines of the policy, players must be made available to the media following every game and regularly during the practice week as required under league rules and their contracts. It is not permissible for any group of players to boycott the media.
"There are things in place for that," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "That's the least of my concerns, really right now. I assume most of our guys answer when they are supposed to, and meet with you guys. But I got other things on my mind right now instead of that."
Barber, a seven-year NFL veteran, exited the postgame locker room before reporters were allowed in to question the running back about a pair of crucial mistakes that contributed to the Bears' collapse against the Broncos. With Denver out of timeouts and the Bears clinging to a 10-3 lead, Barber inexplicably stopped the clock when he ran out of bonds on a second-down play out of the two-minute warning, which gave Tim Tebow and the Broncos precious extra time to stage a last-second game tying drive. Later, Barber fumbled in overtime which set up Denver's game-winning score.
Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie was asked if Barber had addressed the team following the loss to Denver.
"I think that stuff's overrated. We're professionals here," he said. "We all know what it takes to win football games, especially veteran guys, as many as we have around here. I wasn't around him the whole time to know if he really said anything to anybody. But those are the types of things where you could tell he was upset. He didn't need to come say, 'Guys, I messed up.'"
A habitual violator of the NFL's media relations policy since he entered the league with the Dallas Cowboys in 2005, Barber addressed the media just one time upon his arrival in Chicago, answering fewer than five questions before walking away following a training camp practice in August.
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.