Former NFL linebacker Shawn Barber joins Baker football staff

Story by Kyle Davis

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Baker football running backs coach Shawn Barber knows a thing or two about football.

Barber spent 10 seasons as a linebacker in the National Football League with the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans. With the Chiefs in 2003, Barber was second on the team with 141 tackles and five sacks.

Now that his NFL career is in the books, Barber has joined the coaching ranks at Baker.

This is Barber’s second coaching job as he tutored the linebackers for the Berlin Thunder, an NFL Europe team, during an offseason.

“I just like his enthusiasm,” head coach Mike Grossner said. “He’s ready to go on the field smiling, happy, and has got a lot of energy. And that’s what you need as a football coach.”

Barber said with four small kids at home, he is looking to coach at the high school level, but said it was good for him to work at Baker in the meantime.

“I know defense, being in the league for 10 years and playing defense for I guess 15 to 20 years of my life,” he said. “I pretty much know what I want to do on that side of the ball. But offensively, I’m just trying to get a good feel of how offenses should be run.”

As a linebacker, Barber’s job was to read and anticipate what the running back is going to do. Now, he teaches the running backs what the linebackers are trying to do to them.

“(Running backs) have all of the advantage because you know where you’re going, you know where the holes are. It’s definitely a position where if you know what the other guy is looking for, you can really use that to your advantage,” Barber said.

Barber played on some of the biggest stages against some of the best teams during his time in the NFL, so an area where he can help these players is the mental aspect of the game.

“Just being able to ignore all of the outside obstacles and focus on each play, each snap,” Barber said. “Those things, no matter what position you play, are a part of football. It pretty much transcends all of the positions.”

Senior running back Ritchie Bryant said Barber wants football to be fun for them, but at the same time, they are working.

“He’s a great guy, he’s really easy to get along with,” Bryant said. “All the advice he’s been giving me I’ve been just soaking it up like a sponge.”

Barber played college football at the University of Richmond so he is familiar with a smaller-college atmosphere.

“This is what college football is about,” he said. “The way things are here, it’s just good old BU hard-nosed football. We’re going to try and bring that every Saturday.”