Kevin Barnes grew up in Glen Burnie, Md., and played college football at the University of Maryland, so one would expect he might feel a connection to the Baltimore Ravens.
That could not be further from the truth.
"I was never a Ravens fan," Barnes said. "In fact the Ravens weren't even [in Baltimore] when I first moved to Maryland. It has always been the Redskins for me."
Playing against the Ravens on Saturday night at FedExField does carry some significance for the 6-1, 190-pound cornerback, though.
The Ravens were the team that Barnes played against in his first NFL preseason game last year.
At one point, he found himself getting blocked by 6-year veteran cornerback and fellow Maryland alum Domonique Foxworth on punt coverage.
"He definitely introduced me to the NFL," Barnes said, smiling. "But now I'm a year older, a year stronger, and a year more experienced, so I'm ready for anyone."
He hopes that experience – he saw action as a reserve cornerback in four games as a rookie last year – serves him well this season.
Barnes, the Redskins' third-round draft pick in 2009, is in his second NFL season.
He feels a comfort level working in the Redskins' new defense under Jim Haslett.
"This is the same defense I ran for most of my college career, so it's not really too hard picking it up," he said.
"I definitely feel more comfortable, just from the outlook of everything."
Barnes, who is competing to be either the Redskins' nickel or dime cornerback this year, is part of a close-knit cornerback corps.
"I love being around these guys," he said. "They're all a few years older than me, so I was able to watch them in the beginning of their careers.
"To have a unit like this, with DeAngelo [Hall], Carlos [Rogers] and Phillip [Buchanon], it's really something. I admire them, and to be able to come out here and play with them is special."