Photo by Tony Gonzales
The Oakland Raiders re-signed offensive lineman Khalif Barnes, who is entering his sixth season as a Raider and 10th in the NFL.
The versatile lineman is looking forward to being back in Silver and Black. "I'm so excited to be back. I'm going on my sixth year here, and we've had some ups and downs but there are some unfinished things we have to do here," said Barnes. "I want to be a part of the process that turns this thing around. I believe in Dennis [Allen] and I believe in Reggie [McKenzie]. I am just excited I get the chance to come back and help this team win."
|Photo by Tony Gonzales|
Assistant head coach/offensive line Tony Sparano believes re-signing Barnes will help the progression of the offensive line. "Getting Khalif back is very, very valuable to us. He's been a leader in the offensive line room and is a tremendous pro," said Sparano.
Barnes offers versatility on a line that dealt with numerous injuries during the 2013 season. "It's very beneficial because the position flexibility that Khalif has had, which obviously last year playing two positions where neither one of them were his original position, which was right tackle, provides great flexibility for us," Sparano explained. "It gives us the ability to do a lot of things with him."
As a 10-year veteran, Barnes also brings leadership to the locker room. "Khalif brings leadership back to the locker room and not only the locker room, but also the offensive line room," said offensive quality control coach Justin Griffith, who works primarily with Sparano. "He's a leader, he's a veteran, he's been playing for several years now. He's the only guy that has played tight end, right guard, left tackle and right tackle, which you can't be a dumb football player to do that. Khalif is one of the smartest players that we have and to get him back brings stability to our offensive line room."
The 2013 Ed Block Courage Award recipient has the ability to keep players loose with his humor, while also realizing the intensity of a situation. "It helps the room and the thing about him is he knows when to turn it on and turn it off," said Griffith. "He's really good at it. He has the subtle things that he does that helps the room so having Khalif back excites me a lot as an assistant coach."
Raiders captain and FB Marcel Reece is glad to have his teammate back. "I think it means everything," said Reece. "When you talk about building a team and getting a team back where it should be, you have to handle the people at home first."
Barnes started all 16 games in 2013 and helped RB Rashad Jennings have a career year, while also blocking for two young quarterbacks. "It means a lot to bring a guy like Khalif back, not only for the psychological factor and the chemistry factor, but as a player," said Reece. "He's one of the top athletes as an offensive lineman, very versatile, can play all five positions on the line and it's awesome especially when a vital part of the offense is one of your best friends."
"It means a lot," added Reece. "Khalif is a real Raider. He plays like a real Raider, a real Raider, on and off the field and it's a pleasure for me to have him back."