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Old 07-30-2007, 01:09 AM   #1
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Default Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation

Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation
Primarily a starter his whole career, Kevan Barlow finds himself down the depth chart as a backup

Monday, July 30, 2007

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Willie Parker said he would like to carry the ball even more this season for the Steelers, never mind that he carried 337 times in 2006 -- more times than all but three AFC running backs.

That is not good news for Kevan Barlow, who is still trying to adjust to not being the Willie Parker of his team.

Since entering the NFL in 2001 as a third-round draft choice of the San Francisco 49ers, Barlow has come to training camp as a starter or a player competing to be a starter. But, after signing as a free agent with the team he grew up watching, Barlow is competing, at best, to be Parker's top backup, or, at worst, the third-down back behind Parker and Najeh Davenport.

It is a different role for Barlow, who grew up in Garfield and played at Peabody High School and Pitt. And one to which he is still trying to get acclimated.

"It's definitely difficult when I'm used to being the guy who gets the load, who gets to carry the load," Barlow said. "Now it's funny taking a step back and seeing Willie be that. It's definitely hard for me to deal with that, not being that guy, because I'm a competitor."

The Steelers didn't sign Barlow, 28, in May to challenge Parker, a Pro Bowl selection in 2006 who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons. Nor did they do it because they were seeking someone other than Davenport, who was signed to a two-year contract in the offseason, to be the No. 2 back behind Parker.

Rather, they signed Barlow to provide depth in their backfield, especially when they were unsure if veteran Verron Haynes, their third-down back, would return from season-ending knee surgery -- his third in five seasons. And especially after not drafting a running back in April.

It was a good move by the Steelers. Barlow (6 feet 1, 234 pounds) has started 33 games in the NFL -- 30 with the 49ers -- and has gained 3,984 yards on 1,022 carries in six seasons, an average of nearly 4 yards per carry. In addition to scoring 30 touchdowns, he has caught 144 passes for 1,164 yards -- proof of his value as a third-down receiving back.

"I think the added depth is a plus," Davenport said. "The more guys you have to compete, the better off you become. When you have a lot of different guys who do different things, you pick up different stuff."

Still, after one week of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, it hasn't made it any easier on Barlow.

"I'm going out there playing, man," said Barlow, who rushed for 2,324 yards and 20 touchdowns in just 15 starts at Pitt. "It's hard for me to play second hand to anyone because I've been a starter my whole career. In my mind, I'm preparing myself mentally like I'm a starting running back. Even though [Parker] is the starter, even though it might not happen, I want to be able to get in there in case something does happen."

Parker said, "If he didn't say that, he don't need to be in this league. That's what I tell guys all the time. If you're not trying to be a starter of the Pittsburgh Steelers, you're in the wrong field. If you're trying to be a third-down back, if you're trying to be a short-yardage back, you're in the wrong game."

Barlow's best season with the 49ers was 2003 when he rushed for 1,024 on 201 carries (5.1-yard average) and scored six touchdowns. Included was a 78-yard touchdown run against the Steelers in a 30-14 victory in San Francisco Nov. 17.

The following year, Barlow started 14 games and rushed for 822 yards and caught a career-high 35 passes, despite missing one game and not starting another because of a concussion. But everything began to spiral downward in 2005.

Barlow missed four of the final five games of the season with a knee injury and was traded in the summer to the New York Jets to make room for rookie Frank Gore. He started just three games with the Jets and did not play in four of the final five games.

The biggest noise he made was when he compared his former 49ers coach, Mike Nolan, to Adolph Hitler, saying he "walks around with a chip on his shoulder, like he's a dictator, like he's Hitler." Barlow quickly apologized for his comments.

Now he is back where it all started, competing with Haynes for the No. 3 back and hoping to recapture some past glory. Despite the presence of Parker and Davenport, Barlow maintains it was a good fit signing with the Steelers.

"It was because of everything in general," Barlow said. "I felt like I could come here and contribute and make some plays. It's fun, it's exciting, to have this competition. Najeh, I played against him in Miami [in college], now I see him in person and get to compete with him.

"I'm just going to try to make most out of it. I know anything can happen. I have to prepare myself mentally and physically to be able to play. If anything happens to Willie or Najeh, I can step in there and make something happen if my number is called on."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07211/805509-66.stm
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation

Quote:
"I'm going out there playing, man," said Barlow, who rushed for 2,324 yards and 20 touchdowns in just 15 starts at Pitt. "It's hard for me to play second hand to anyone because I've been a starter my whole career. In my mind, I'm preparing myself mentally like I'm a starting running back. Even though [Parker] is the starter, even though it might not happen, I want to be able to get in there in case something does happen."
Quote:
"It was because of everything in general," Barlow said. "I felt like I could come here and contribute and make some plays. It's fun, it's exciting, to have this competition. Najeh, I played against him in Miami [in college], now I see him in person and get to compete with him.

"I'm just going to try to make most out of it. I know anything can happen. I have to prepare myself mentally and physically to be able to play. If anything happens to Willie or Najeh, I can step in there and make something happen if my number is called on."
If you ask me, it doesn't sound like Barlow "is the worst character guy" on the Steelers roster.

It makes you wonder who exactly is this guy's "source"....http://forums.steelersfever.com/show...t=18177&page=6 (Post #54)

Hey, maybe his source is Mike Nolan?
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation

Good question 83. Could it be Colbert also?
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation

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Originally Posted by Stlrs4Life View Post
Good question 83. Could it be Colbert also?
I guess the mysteriously black cloaked "source" could be anybody....Colbert, Tomlin, The Cookie Monster. For me personally, until I see or hear Barlow causing problems (from a credible source), I'll take Barlow's word for it. Guy said everything right in the above article and has not given me any reason to think otherwise.

It's just odd that this guy is the only one I've heard bring up Barlow's name in a negative light since he arrived in Pittsburgh.

I still think it's Mike "Hitler" Nolan....
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation

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Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43 View Post
If you ask me, it doesn't sound like Barlow "is the worst character guy" on the Steelers roster.

It makes you wonder who exactly is this guy's "source"....http://forums.steelersfever.com/show...t=18177&page=6 (Post #54)

Hey, maybe his source is Mike Nolan?

Yep... Which is why I posted this question...

Quote:
On Barlow... was this a prognostication... or from actually being with the guys and watching. If it is the former... I wish the press would knock it off... if it is the latter...
Hmmm.... Me thinks prognostication...

http://forums.steelersfever.com/show...8&postcount=59

Last edited by Preacher; 07-31-2007 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation

i could care less about Barlow and i'm not expecting much from him at all this year.
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation

Barlow will get cut. When they talk about the performance of the RBs and FBs, Barlow is last on the list of ,,, well you could say not cutting it.
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation

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i could care less about Barlow and i'm not expecting much from him at all this year.
Agree. Maybe we should save time and cut him now, save him before Anthony Smith kills him on practice
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation

I was excited about the Barlow signing, because of what he could do... and the fact that we need a good second back. I thought it would be nice if we had a stable of Barlow and Najeh to depend on.

Oh well.. If not, that is okay too!
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:01 AM   #10
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Default Re: Barlow dealing with unfamiliar situation

Yea I also see Barlow getting cut pretty soon.
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