Former FIU and current Baltimore Ravens linebacker Antwan "El Monstruo" Barnes and his Ravens teammates lost to the Dolphins two weeks ago when Miami snapped a 16-game losing streak and avoided infamy winning its first game of the season 22-16 in overtime.
After that game, AB graciously sat down with the GPP for this interview.
What's your first NFL season been like now after 14 games?
AB: After the 12th game, it becomes a mental thing, because you're so used to shutting down. Ever since high school you've probably played in probably 12 games unless you went to the state championship. After 13 games it becomes mental, especially when you're a rookie. You don't want to hit that rookie wall. That's the main thing everybody is looking for. The only thing you can do is motivate yourself.
What was it like for you to get your first two sacks in the NFL against future Hall of Famer Tom Brady and a team like the New England Patriots (picture above left)?
AB: It was tremendous going against a team I grew up not liking, the Patriots, because I was a Colts fan. I was a big Peyton Manning fan, I've been a Colts fan since 1998. I grew up watching the Colts and they could never beat the Patriots. I just wanted to get that sack on [Brady] so bad.
Now you get your third sack just a few hours ago against the Dolphins and in front of your hometown fans. What was that like for you? I saw you dancing around after the sack and pointing to some fans in the stands, was that your family?
AB: You got to play happy no matter what goes on in the game. You have to play like you want to win, play happy. Tommorrow is not promised to you, so you have to play like it's your last game. Play with excitement and enjoyment. My family was there and so was [former FIU linebacker] Alex Bostic.
How much did you follow FIU this year?
AB: I followed them pretty well, especially when they go up against teams that some of my teammates played on.
Did you make any friendly wagers with your teammates?
Where were you the Saturday that FIU broke the 23-game losing streak?
AB: I was up in Baltimore. We had a team meeting that night. When I found out all I could do was smile. Coach Cristobal is trying to make a tremendous effort to bring a good program to FIU.
Coach Cristobal recruited you for Rutgers back in the day. How was that recruiting process?
AB: It was pretty good. I remember when he came out to recruit me, he came to the front of my house and said if I go to Rutgers he would do a cartwheel and he ended up doing two cartwheels. It was kind of exciting seeing two cartwheels.
Have you seen the new stadium that's going up at FIU?
AB: Oh yeah I've seen it. It's getting bigger and bigger. It's something to attract many recruits. It shows that in the future, we are going to be one of the powerhouses.
What did you see in this year's FIU team?
AB: There's a lot of youth there. When I went to practice one day all you saw was a lot of new faces and a lot of young cats there. By the time they get to their junior and senior years you better watch out for them.
What kind of message do you want to send out to the FIU team and their fans that are going to be reading this on the award-winning GPP blog?
AB: Keep believing. Life is not over, because of some bad seasons. Just go at it fast pace, fast speed. Don't let nobody talk down to you, because anybody can make it.
UltimateFIUFan: Unfortunately, Chandler Williams won't be on the Dolphins active roster this Sunday for the season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Fins had a rash of injuries hit their secondary and about three or four defensive backs were added to Sunday's roster.
Roman: Get your pipes warmed up, FIU baseball opens the season in 57 days at home against USC. Of course, anyone who read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas at FIU would know that.
gpantera: I'm not quitting my day job, but I thought for taking a stab at a little poetry, the FIU Christmas poetic tale came out all right. I guess, I'll have to write another one of those on the GPP in the near future to convince you.
Messod: 'Twas took me a couple of days to come up with. The line "the new FIU sports show" I wrote meant - a new athletic administration now in charge.
BBPanther: Welcome to the GPP. We are nearing the New Year holiday, but if the FIU hoops team doesn't play its best in the next two games: at Purdue (Saturday) and at Kentucky (Monday) it will seem like Halloween (Michael Myers-style) for SR and the hoopsters. Bet they can't wait to get back home for FAU next Saturday.
GO_PANTHERS & WhosHouse: Welcome to the GPP.