You are too small! You are too short! You are too slow! You will never play professional football at any level! Those are the words Barnes has had to hear throughout his whole life. As a Sophomore, Barnes decided to try out for his high school football team. Naturally gifted and talented, Barnes survived the cuts and made the team. Barnes started at weakside linebacker instantly. As the weakside linebacker, Barnes flourished. In such a dominant fashion, Barnes led the team to a state championship at Watson Chapel High School. Along the way, Barnes earned all-state and all-conference honors. Despite the success, after his senior year, he did not receive a single scholarship offer. Barnes had a decision to make, quit like many others or continue to fight, continue to battle. Determined, motivated and ready to fight on, Barnes decided to play football, ultimately staying close to home and walked on at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Barnes not only switched positions, but he also made the team as a walk-on, and after the second week of practice was offered a full scholarship, quite an achievement. Barnes decided to switch positions, from weakside linebacker to safety. While doing so he started all four years at UAPB. Barnes fellow teammates include former NFL defensive backs Chris Akins, Greg Wesley, and Dante Wesley. Along with the change, Barnes majored in criminal justice and accomplished a master’s degree in administration education. After four years in college, Barnes signed with NFL agent Gary Glick, but Barnes went undrafted.
(Newspaper article on John Barnes, 2002)
Pro Football Career (2002-2008)
In 2002, following his senior year at UAPB, Barnes moved to Dallas, Texas. Despite not playing right after college, Barnes continued to train daily with his speed coach Russell “Fly” Flannigan. Shortly after, His agent Gary successfully landed him a tryout with Grand Rapids Rampage. A former franchise with the Arena Football League. During that tryout, Barnes thrived and demonstrated his skill and heart instantly. Barnes ran a 4.39 and 4.42 in the 40-yard dash. The Rampage offered him a one-year deal which Barnes accepted. After his one-year tenure with the Rampage, Barnes was signed and played for the Carolina Cobras through the 2003 and 2004 seasons. His stellar performance did not go overlooked, Barnes landed two tryouts and one minicamp invitation. The first chance landed with the Oakland Raiders, in which he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash, and the second invitation coming from the Buffalo Bills, this time improving his 40 time, running a 4.40 40-yard dash, Barnes came close to signing, but his agent Gary and then personnel chief John Guy had a few disagreements. Lastly, Barnes was granted an invitation to join the Kansas City Chiefs minicamp in 2005. Unfortunately, Barnes did not make any of the NFL rosters. Again, faced with a decision to quit or continue to fight, the decision was quickly made, Barnes would fight on. This only made Barnes stronger. It was a minor set back for Barnes, who shortly after signed with the Hamilton Tigercats, part of the Canadian Football League. Barnes played one season for the Tigercats and joined the Georgia Force in the Arena Football League the following year. His final year was 2008, in which he played for the Albany Wildcats. This would be Barnes darkest moment. Barnes suffered a career-ending injury with a broken tibia in February. A few months later, Barnes would go on to re-injure himself again in May. This time due to a motorcycle accident. This injury would force Barnes to hang em up for good. Despite the devastating news, Barnes will not be knocked down, he will not be held down. Barnes time after time continues to over come all odds. After a long year of excruciating rehab. Ultimately, Barnes decided to pursue other goals he had in mind.
Life After Football
Most of Barnes professional football career were one-year stints. Regardless, Barnes earned the respect of many across the football community, proving many doubters and naysayers wrong throughout his journey. Barnes was told multiple times he would never play professional football at any level. Despite the negative feedback, Barnes would continue to grind. As he battled through adversity, his strength of character was surely tested. After his football career, Barnes decided to start up a jewelry business with his partner Ali in Dallas, Texas. The business called “Treasures Jewelers” was a success. The partners would sell custom jewelry to members of the Dallas Cowboys, Dez Bryant, and many more top athletes. After four successful years, Barnes decided to take a different path with his career. Barnes was offered an incredible job opportunity with one of the world’s largest sports modeling agencies in the entire United States. Barnes joined the agency “Sports Lifestyle and Fitness”, and moved to Portland, Oregon. Barnes took the agency by storm, Barnes quickly starred in commercials for major top brands. The likes of Adidas, Nike, Russell Athletic, NFL Network, Jordan and many more. In 2010, Barnes started his own training company called “Pro Baller Fitness”. Barnes trains athletes starting from NFL players, NBA players, CFL players, track athletes, college athletes including the Oregon Ducks, all the way down to high school athletes. In the four years of business, Pro Baller Fitness has been rated five stars the last three years by the Better Business Bureau. Barnes has both trained with and trained former and current NFL players such as Ray Crocket, Ray Mickens, Anthony Dorsett, Darren Gordon, Dante Wesley, Curtis Fuller, Parrish Cox, Greg Wesley, Nick Truesdell and many more. Barnes is now arguably both the top sports specific trainer and top speed coach in the entire Northwest region. In 2014 opportunity came knocking for Barnes again, this time as a coach. An opportunity he has been waiting for his whole life. Barnes accepted the position as defensive backs coach and head strength coach for Hillsboro High School. Despite the hectic schedule, Barnes has managed to also be the defensive backs coach at Nike’s “The Opening” football camp since 2014. Barnes is currently the defensive backs coach and the head strength coach for Liberty High School. Through all the ups and downs the journey was not easy, but Barnes certainly proved himself. He also proved to his family, friends and many non-believers, that anything is possible. I asked Barnes if he had a message for athletes in a similar situation to himself back in high school, and throughout his career. Barnes message to those athletes… “Use that fuel to light your fire. Use that to motivate yourself to work and train harder, to be successful on and off the football field. The things I have overcome in my life have made me a stronger man. It has also made me extremely passionate about helping the next athlete be better at his or her craft. I will do my best to help them so that they do not have to endure the same adversity I went through.” That same message Barnes plans to ingrain to his son John Barnes III. Battling through the same adversity, his son JB3 earned a scholarship only after one year of football at Liberty High School. He will attend Southern Oregon University. Just like his father, the younger Barnes proved most non-believers wrong.
Football, training, and fitness are things Barnes is very passionate about. Barnes is also a mentor to athletes and non-athletes.
“Don’t be average, train with the best!”
If you would like to train with John “JB” Barnes, be sure to reach out to him at the following info below.
You can follow him at the following listed below.
Instagram @ JbProBallerFitness
Facebook – JB Barnes
Email – JB@proballerfitness.com
Website – www.proballerfitness.com