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Interview with "El Monstruo" Antwan Barnes

Abs_2    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 Pm 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 Bos_2 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?

AB:Mcg I made a wager with Willis [McGahee] and it was like 25 cents. Willis thought his team was going to blow out my team, but I was like it ain't going to happen (23-9). So I won 25 cents.

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 Cart_2 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.

Hall 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 Mm 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.


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ive been waiting for this interview for a while pete. Thanks!! Its good to hear that 'Twan keeps up with FIU football even in the midst of a busy NFL schedule. Ive always been a ravens fan, but its even better now because I can watch the games and say "thats an FIU player right there making plays". Its a different feeling than just watching games because its someone that Ive seen on campus and in class(Antwan was in one of my Pol Sci. classes in 05').

Anywhoo real creative on the poetry. By the way how much do you want the Patriots to lose this Saturday? I hope they lose because they dont deserve to be 16-0, especially since they robbed that win from the Ravens....

Great to hear from Antwan, I was at the game as a Dolphin fan but I am definitely an Antwan fan and was wearing my FIU hat for Antwan, cheering for him whenever he performed well.

Nice...I would have liked to get some info on his contract. Not monetary stuff, rather length. Can you provide any info? I don't know if his gig is a one year or multi-year guarantee. It would be great for our school to have EL MONSTRUO representing for years to come.

Antwan has a three-year, $1.402 million contract. He is also represented by Drew Rosenburger. I mean Rosenhaus.

If Antwan puts up his usual El Monstrou numbers in the next two seasons he could be looking at a nice extension after 2009. Dont be fooled by his numbers this season. The Ravens have really misused him. They put him in as a pass rusher and only as a pass rusher. His tackle stats are low because he rarely gets a chance to make tackles as a pass rusher. Its obvious that when he plays a lot of snaps his numbers are pretty good. To date his best game was against the Patriots. He recorded 3 tackles, 2 sacks and a bunch of QB pressures. This was also a game in which he was in on a bunch of snaps.

I think the Ravens will have a new coach next year, and hopefully that could be good for AB career. A lot of fans in Baltimore like him, and they would like to see him playing more, but the current coaching staff is hurting that team, it seems that they have become too comfortable, sounds like the Strock era at FIU, and the sentiment here is that they need to go in January.

great to hear the interview w/ barnes best of luck to him

From what was reported Billick will be coaching Ravens next year.

AB is going to be playing in the NFL for many years. I really hope he even makes some Pro Bowls. He's a speed pass rusher and has tremendous power. I expect him to compete for starting position next year.

It was really nice to see he won a bet against Willis McGahee. It shows he believes in what FIU is doing. And like he said in 2-3 years our team is going to be scary.


Great work Pete,
I really enjoyed and this interview. I hope you can do the same type of FIU point of view interview with Arroyo and Bell sometime soon. Maybe a former coach like Shakey or Walker or Madique just on sports or the head of each BCS conference what FIU needs to do to be considered for expansion.

Being an alumni and fan I love to hear these perspectives thats something 90% of UM fans cant experience since they never went to college.

Great piece Pete! It's refreshing and nice to "keep in touch" with former FIU players....I, too, was thinking about maybe you doing an interview with Maidique....basically athletics' oriented. I think that would be very interesting....Thanks...

I told you guys, Billick is now history in Baltimore, I think the new coaching staff will rebuilt around the younger guys and that includes AB, I think we will see more of him next season.
Happy and prosperous 2008 to everybody and GO FIU Lets take the right turn with Baseball this season.

Great to hear from AB! As a 20+ year Dolphin season ticket holder, I too was wearing my FIU hat with my Fins shirt to show support for AB.

Pete, did you happen to discuss with AB his importance in starting a tradition, where ALL FIU players that make it to the NFL, NBA or MLB come back and support the Golden Panthers? Even though I'm not a fan of UM, I do admire how those ex-Canes stay in touch with the program and support those that follow them. AB could be the leader in this area being that he is having the greatest impact of the 3 or 4 FIU NFLers.

Was also told that AB is about to complete his degree from FIU!!! Is this true? IF true, congrats to AB!!


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