Friday, April 5, 2013

Antwan Barnes: Jets were the only team I wanted


Antwan Barnes might not have had many options. But according to him, he didn't need many.

The New York Jets signed the former San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker to a three-year, $4 million deal in March. (photo: Keith Allison, Flickr)

Gang Green's need for wallet-friendly help in the pass-rushing department combined with Barnes's familiarity with Jets coach Rex Ryan made the match.

"This is pretty much the only team I wanted to talk to,” Barnes told earlier this week. “I didn’t see myself going anywhere else."

Barnes said Ryan tried to recruit him when he was a free agent two years ago. The veteran 'backer worked under Ryan when Ryan served as defensive coordinator in Baltimore. Barnes joined the Philadelphia Eagles, and then the Chargers, in 2010 before notching 18.5 sacks in 38 games in San Diego.

Barnes will likely enter camp atop the depth chart at OLB, but New York will more than likely target the position early in the draft and will still do its due diligence across the league -- and within the locker room -- until the 2013 season kicks off.

“Me being in my seventh year in the league, sometimes you’ve just got to play your role,” he said. “Whatever role they have for me, I’m going to play to the best of my ability.”

And whatever his role may be, at least his family is already holding up its end of the bargain.

“My daughter already knows the Jets chant," he said. "... she’s 4 years old."

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