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Is Barnes' Future At Safety?

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Kevin Barnes admits his heart is at cornerback, his natural position

But is his future there – or at safety?

Barnes has played cornerback almost his entire career, from college to the pros. Late last season, he was pressed into playing free safety due to an injury to Kareem Moore.

He discovered that he enjoyed playing safety, perhaps a little more than cornerback.

"I really enjoyed safety the last few weeks and I would more than welcome making that transition," he said at the end of last season. "But, I mean, corner is my heart. It all depends on what coaches want me to do."

After seeing action as a nickel corner most of the season, Barnes started the last two games of the season at free safety.

He posted 22 tackles on the season, including 12 in the last three games.

In Week 16 at Jacksonville, Barnes picked off quarterback David Garrard in overtime to help set up the game-winning field goal in a 20-17 win for the Redskins.

So a future at safety is a possibility for the 2009 third-round draft pick out of Maryland.

"Hopefully coaches decide where they want to put me early so I know how to prepare my body for the season," Barnes said.

When the Redskins met with free agent Oshiomogho Atogwe earlier this week, it suggested that Barnes' destination was back at cornerback.

Then again, if the Redskins re-sign free agents-to-be Carlos Rogers and Phillip Buchanon, then it might make sense to give Barnes a shot at safety.

No matter what happens, Barnes has developed versatility that makes him valuable if he's a reserve next season.

Comparing the two positions, Barnes has said he likes being able to react to what the quarterback is doing as a safety. He is not always afforded that luxury playing cornerback.

Barnes admitted he has "thought about" what it would be like playing alongside strong safety LaRon Landry.

He doesn't want to get ahead of himself, though. And he knows that Moore is the incumbent starter.

"I still have a lot to learn about playing free safety," he said. "It definitely crossed my mind, though."

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