On Thursday, August 1, 2013, Redskins LB Nick Barnett addressed the media following morning walkthrough at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
On to process of signing with the Redskins:
"Looking at the coaching staff with [Defensive Coordinator Jim] Haslett and Slow [Linebackers Coach Bob Slowik] – I played with him in Green Bay – I think it was a very good fit with running the similar scheme to what we had in Green Bay two years ago when I was there. So I thought it would be fairly easy to pick up, and the linebackers we have here now with London Fletcher and [Perry] Riley, we've got a talented bunch. Hopefully, my goal is to get on the field somehow and some way. So with this team up and coming the way that they played last year, I wanted to be a part of a successful team. It was a couple of teams I talked to earlier in this free agency, but just not the right fit. I don't want no more 6-10 seasons. I want to go to a winning team."
On his health and the role it played in his offseason:
"I had a surgery procedure done right after the season and so I wanted to take that time to get healthy and rehab and get better. I could have just played another year, but the procedure that I got is going to allow me to play a couple more years, so I thought it'd be best that I get it done and be healthy for three or four more years… I had my knee – I had it cleaned out, stem cells, some good stuff done to it."
On the role he will serve after having started every game in his career thus far:
"I'm here to help any way that I can, whether it's a starter or whether it's coming off the bench and playing. I think you can be effective and a good player – you don't have to start games to be that. I've always thought that – even though I've started every game that I've played – I've always thought that you can come off of the bench and be just as big an impact as well. So whatever happens, I'm going into this game to try to get on the field and start, but whatever role I take on, this organization, these coaches put me up to, I'm going to take it on with a full head of – What is it? A full head of what?... Fast. [Laughter]"
On his knee injury:
"I didn't have anything torn. It was this right knee. It was kind of from the same one I had an ACL procedure done, beating it up over the years. [I] just wanted to get it cleaned out and fixed up."
On his offseason workouts and being in shape:
"I've still got to get in football shape and that's what we're doing. They've blessed me with the opportunity to come here and play and we're going to do everything in order for me to get out on the field and play my best. We're kind of taking it slow and getting me in shape and in football shape before we throw me out there in the fire and get lit up. I'm excited about that opportunity and get out there and it's full-go."
What was yesterday like not knowing how the situation would pan out:
"I was just ordering hotel movies in there, putting it on the Redskins' bill [laughter]. No, I'm just joking. I wanted to play here and we were trying to get it done whatever way we could. And it just happened so to work out and I was happy about it. But I probably watched about three movies yesterday in that room."
On a reasonable expectation for him to get on the field:
"That's up to them, to the staff. As they see I get to their level of comfort with my football shape, then I'll be out there. There's no medical stipulation right now; there's not a three-week, four-week [plan], it's just whenever they feel comfortable putting me out there, then we'll go."
On the familiarity of terminology in the defensive scheme:
"It is almost like if you spoke Spanish for two years and then you stop speaking and then you go back and read the book, you go, 'Oh yeah, I remember those words.' It is basically the same terminology. There are different things. They handle the slot different or the backside of Cover 2, different things like that. But it is very similar. Probably 90 percent of the terminology is the same."
On standing by London Fletcher during walkthrough:
"He is definitely a good teacher. In my younger days when I got to the league, I always looked up to vets and sometimes those vets do not want to teach you. He is one of those guys I have always looked up to as a player being one of the undersized linebackers and seeing the way he plays, his tenacity, his relentless pursuit, his consistency as a linebacker. He knows the defense inside out. It's definitely great to have a player like that you can bounce that off of."
If special teams was discussed as part of his role in Washington:
"Yes and no. We are going to see where we are at when the season starts. I am here to do whatever I am told to do, play, and be the biggest impact I can for this team."
On why he was the best decision for the Redskins:
"I am the best player out there… Just joking. [Laughter] Being familiar with the defense and me being familiar with [Bob] Slowik. I think we are the best fit for each other, so [I'm] happy to be the best fit."
On his projected role in Washington:
"Right now, I'm basically behind London [Fletcher], but anything can happen. I can play both positions – I played the Will – I don't know what we call it here – the Dime and the Nickel and I'll be playing the Mike here. I think they're all interchangeable. Whatever happens, I'm down for a move or whatever. I'm definitely there."
On if the defense in Buffalo was 'spinning its wheels' because of scheme changes:
"It's always hard when you're going from a different defensive coordinator to another defensive coordinator, different players to even more different players. I think they were trying to find themselves in what type of defense they were trying to run as well. It was a transition, and I don't think they got enough time to finish the transition. So I think now, they're on another transition – hopefully it works out for them there. But I don't think I 'spun my wheels.' I played football, I love playing football. I'll play football anywhere. I'm glad to be a part of this organization now."
On the wear and tear he has on his body now at age 32:
"Like you said, London [Fletcher] is 38 and I'm 28, so I've got at least 10 more years left [jokingly]. I'm just joking… I'm just taking it year by year. It's just a blessing to be able to play this long, to be honest with you. I'm going on 11 [seasons], and the average career is what, three? So I'm just taking it year by year and I'm going to ride it until the wheels fall off until they tell me I can't play anymore. I enjoy the game, and I don't think I'll ever stop enjoying the game. As long as someone has a home for me, I'm going to bring my pillow and my sleeping bag."
On the first word he associated with the Washington Redskins:
"Winning. You [saw] the way they played during the homestretch and towards the end of the season they started to come together. Who knows how far they could have went if RG [Robert Griffin III] didn't get hurt. They have such great outside linebackers – London [Fletcher] in the middle – great D-line, the offense is good and productive, you've got a young offense. This team could be good for years to come. I have a one-year deal but I'm hoping to earn some more years here and that's my whole goal is to be here for longer."
On lack of interest in the free agent market:
"It was a weird year for free agency. I don't know what it was or what happened, but obviously I had the procedure right after the season and we had a lot of calls right when I got released but I was rehabbing. It's hard for a team to pick you up when you're in the middle of rehabbing. And this year it was almost like the lockout year where you had to wait all the way until training camp started before free agents started getting picked up. Am I surprised? I don't know. I'm just happy that I did get picked up now at this point."
On if he was getting more calls within the last couple of weeks:
"These recent weeks I've had some activity but not a place like this that fit for me."
On the last time he played special teams:
"I've never played special teams in the NFL… No, I'm just joking. I played punt team my first four years… You guys trying to set me up for kickoff? What's going on in here? [Laughter]"
On the mental adjustment of transitioning from starting to possibly coming off the bench:
"For me, I'm not going to say it's open competition, but I still haven't settled on a backup role just yet. And if that role comes about, than that's the role I'll take. I'm going to go out there and I'm going to try to push London [Fletcher], I'm going to try to push [Perry] Riley. You know, that's what it's all about. It's competition, and I think with that you get better. So I'm going out there to try to push them as much as I can and see what happens. Either way, we'll have three, or four, or five – all the guys – we'll have some good linebackers and be interchangeable."