Pirates D-Line Gets NFL Talent
By: Oliver Nissi
September 30, 2020
WORCESTER, MASS. — If the Pirates defensive line looks more imposing next season, here’s the reason why. The team announced today it has agreed on a contract with defensive lineman T.J. Barnes. At 6’7” and 345 pounds, Barnes has played for three NFL teams since 2014 and has nine career NFL tackles. The Montgomery, Alabama native is ready to play winning football for Massachusetts. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to compete and for a chance to bring the team a championship.”
Barnes originally broke into the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He then played with the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs from 2014-2016. In 2017, Barnes spent time with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Barnes played for the Atlanta Legends in the AAF in 2019 and the XFL’s New York Guardians in 2020. He also had another brief NFL stint with the Carolina Panthers in 2019.
Pirates President and General Manager, Jawad Yatim believes Barnes will be a good role model for some of the Pirates’ younger players. “TJ has a ton of experience playing at a high level, guys like that have obviously been well-coached throughout the years and come in as pretty polished players for us. We hope TJ shares the knowledge he’s gained over the years with our younger players and takes on a leadership role for us this upcoming season. From a physical standpoint, he’s an imposing presence along our defensive front, I think he’ll really be able to push the pocket for us and be disruptive against the pass and the run. He’s another piece we are excited about and glad to have him.”
The team’s defensive line coach, Jerry Snay, is thrilled with the acquisition of Barnes. “He’s an absolute presence. Tough and long-armed. We think we can use him at nose tackle to control the middle of the defensive line and allow other guys to have an impact. It all starts upfront and the additions on the d-line will help complement Coach Kizer’s overall scheme.”
Barnes played college football at Georgia Tech from 2009-2012. During his time as a Yellow Jacket, the team played in four bowl games. His best season came during his senior year when he was named 2012 All-ACC Honorable Mention. Barnes attended Enterprise High School in Enterprise, Alabama.
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