Interview transcript – Krys Barnes, linebacker for the Green Bay Packers

Liz Bhandari:  Now, let’s start chatting about the draft. Like, what was it like during those last few rounds, while you’re waiting to hear your name to be called, like, whether teams calling you to tell you that they were targeting you. And you know that once you sign up as an undrafted, free agent? What was the process like at the end of the draft when it when it was coming to a close?

Krys Barnes:  Um, yeah, it was definitely a, you know, a stressful process to go through that whole little situation as far as the draft and, you know, not having an uncertainty of not knowing know, where I was gonna go, or someone’s gonna call or, or whatnot. But you know, having conversations with my agent, and him kindly letting me know, kind of gave me the foresight that there was possibility that that I wasn’t getting drafted. So I kind of already had that in my head. So when that time came, I kind of had an idea of where I want to go a couple of teams that were already interested in that were calling me at the end of the seventh round, saying, you know, hey, I don’t think we’re going to draft you. But you know, when the when the time comes, we do want to pick you up in our free agency. So I know when that time did come, I was able to make my choice pretty fast. And, you know, thankful to be here with the Green Bay Packers.

Liz Bhandari:  Absolutely. And your UCLA teammate, Josh Woods, he called you the glue that kind of held the team together with your leadership. And what kind of leader would you describe yourself as, like, are you a big talker, you more that lead by example, and kind of let your play to your talking? Or is it like a combination of all of those styles,

Krys Barnes:  You know, I’m still trying to figure out my role as far as a leader, you know, I’m not the most vocal guy, I’m gonna come out, you know, have that pregame speech, or the whole pump up thing, but you know, I do try and lead by example, I’m by my play, you know, I try to go out there and give off my guys and let that shine, let it be infectious that you know, just, you know, then be able to see me fly around a couple plays that might get them juiced up my mobility, no, forget that spark for a team. So I’m still developing that, you know, that quality of being a true leader. So there’s a lot a lot of room for me to grow, for sure.

Liz Bhandari:  Amazing. And how big of a shift is it for like a linebacker in college when it comes to like the NFL, especially given that college teams, you know, tend to run more, whereas the NFL seems to be more of like a, I guess, a passing League, if you will?

Krys Barnes:  Um, yeah, there’s definitely, you know, a difference as far as just how the game is played, the speed of it, the physicality of it, there’s a lot of a lot of variables that, you know, go into the differences of it. But, you know, for me, I think there’s a big thing for me that as far as I just know, kind of let go and just play the calls or calls the schemes kind of, you know, and it being kind of same over the course of all your learning, it’s just new terminology. So, just the quicker you can apply those times and, you know, get out there and, you know, just trust the people around you. You know, it makes your job a lot easier, for sure.

Liz Bhandari:  And are there any areas of your game that you feel that have really benefited and developed thanks to kind of having Guess to practice against one of the best quarterbacks in the league on a regular basis?

Krys Barnes:  Yeah, I mean, you just want to get, I guess, one of the best office offices in the league. So it’s definitely every day you step on the field, every play, you’re getting better, just as far as you know, little things that Aaron Rodgers has seen, as far as, you know, little checks that you made at the line allows us to kind of step our game up in that area, you know, kind of get those pre snap clues and get our eyes and our mind, right, you know, before each and every play. It’s definitely good to be able to go against this more often, especially for me, as a young player, to be able to build up so fast, you have to go and get your offence. So, um, you know, like I said, I’m excited to be here, definitely try to go offence, be a part of this defence, be part of this team and just, you know, take each day in itself and continue to grow.

Liz Bhandari:  Let’s talk about the Kenneth Washington award I’ve given you know how so significant figure that he is an American football history isn’t was even so how did that feel to be presented with that award, especially with I guess how many distinguished players have had that award previously?

Krys Barnes:  Um, it’s a huge honour, um, you know, there’s definitely a lot of things that, you know, he’s brought to the game that we still try to, you know, establish today in this game, so, um, you know, for me to be able to, you know, win that it was a, it was a great honour. You know, I try to pride myself on being the best I can be every time I’m on the field. Continue to try to be a leader like you, like you guys spoke of and try to be the best I could be all around. And that’s, that’s why I think that that whole honour, the whole trophy capitalises on for me to be able to win that it was definitely honour.

Liz Bhandari:  Now, the Green Bay Packers are the only team that the UK funds have get to kind of see in person in London is playing in the country and experience you personally like to have

Krys Barnes:  yeah, oh, yeah. Yes, most definitely. And, you know, growing up, I’ve seen a couple of teams play across the country in different places. So, you know, I know I don’t really know how all that goes, how it gets planned. But you know, hopefully one day you know, I would love to be out there in a different country. Probably UK. You know, there’s so so to sport or so UK with the sports all about it. With the Green Bay Packers all about so hopefully, sometime in the future sometime soon.

Liz Bhandari:  Fingers crossed.

Krys Barnes:  Yeah, fingers crossed.

Liz Bhandari:  Now, the packers are in a unique kind of place in the NFL, you know, gt like its ownership structure. How special is that relationship between like the people of Green Bay and the team itself

Krys Barnes:  is definitely special. I think. Especially for me coming from UCLA where you’re in Los Angeles and a lot of people don’t really care about football. I mean, they do but you don’t get that feel of it being a football city. But coming here at Green Bay, I mean, this is the community they they bring you in with such open arms, they still give you your space to know like okay, you feel free to go anywhere is love everywhere you go they come every game practice whatever it might be, and they’re showing for support it will be sold out for practice. So it’s like Wherever we go, you know, they’re gonna be there supporting us and we’re definitely definitely gonna have him back this year.

Liz Bhandari:  And just the challenges have like this this special or on game day given obviously, I suppose its size compared to other places.

Krys Barnes:  Yeah, I mean, last year was was talking about being more experienced. And so it’s still it’s still an experience for us but it’s gonna be my first home game. Seeing this the Lambeau Field fully packed out so see the whole game game environment pulling in seeing the fans on the side if I wanted a facility so I’m definitely excited for it ready for it should be good fuel to have the fans back in the stadium had a rockin on Monday Night Football. So this is a lot a lot of good things to come for sure.

Liz Bhandari:  Absolutely. And one tradition that I love to say each year is kind of one of the where the players right the children’s bicycles down dream drive to the practice like what what does that mean to you?

Krys Barnes:  Um, it’s just a special thing that you know, I think of as far as tradition that goes on here and being able to hop on bikes and it’s been a couple little seconds with some of the kids and even some of the fans you know, it’s just it’s a interaction that I guess most most teams might not have. So for us, it can make a kid’s lifetime it can make a fans lifetime you never know what they’re going through. So for us to spend a couple of days out of our day riding a bike walking with them whatever it might be, it’s just it’s something that’s different both of us know we get to interact with the fans but relationship and continue to grow as a community continue to grow as a you know, just organisation

Liz Bhandari:  Amazing Chris, thank you so much. It’s been an absolute pleasure to speak to you best of luck for the season ahead. And you know, the incredible future in front of you. 

Krys Barnes:  Perfect, appreciate you and hopefully in the past couple years like we said UK we coming!

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