Baltimore Sun

Barnes in the dark about reduced role

Antwan Barnes has been deactivated in five of the team's last six games, and the linebacker said he hasn't gotten any feedback from the coaches regarding his demotion.

"They haven't said anything," he said. "Whatever they've got in the game plan is what they've got in the game plan."


Initially billed as a potential successor to pass-rushing linebacker Terrell Suggs when he was selected in the fourth round of the 2007 draft, Barnes' last meaningful game was Oct. 11 -- which was when his failed tackle contributed to Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson's 28-yard touchdown run.

Since then, Barnes has played in only one game -- against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 22 on special teams. Meanwhile, rookie Paul Kruger has leapfrogged Barnes on the depth chart, and his interception of Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon set up the Ravens' 20-17 overtime win.


"It's frustrating to sit on the sideline and watch the guys play," Barnes said. "But that's what they've got in the game plan."

When I asked Barnes if his approach to practice changes with the understanding of his position on defense, he shook his head.

"I'm going to go into every week thinking that I'm going to play," he said. "That's what you've got to do. You've just got to work even harder and practice even harder to show the coaches that you're ready to play.

"The world isn't coming to an end," Barnes added. "There's a lot of opportunities out there and once it comes, you've got to grab a hold of it. It may take a while for the opportunity to come. So in the meantime, you just have to get yourself together and get your mind right mentally, your body right physically."