The NFL is back! Every Sunday from now until February there will be football; great feeling right? Teams are in the process of fine tuning their 90 man rosters to find the best 53 warriors to put on the field to chase the elusive Vince Lombardi trophy. Surprisingly one player in particular remains unsigned. Kicker, yes I said KICKER Michael Barnard is still without an NFL contract. “Money Mike” is a 6’2″ 206 pounder from East Hampton, New Jersey that has an iron boot. Barnard went to Rancocas Valley Regional High School and later graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
In 2009 he began working with former NFL Kicker Michael Husted. When asked for about Michael Barnard, Husted responded via Twitter (@HustedKicking) “Michael has worked very hard over the last two years to position himself for the pros. He is kicking very well right now.” According to Barnard, he has also worked out with Cleveland Browns Kicker Phil Dawson, a well respected 15 year NFL vet. In addition Barnard was a member of FeelyKicks, a camp taught by Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely. Michael has had exposure to proven top notch NFL kickers and seemingly gets better after every visit.
Barnard was given a tryout by the Philadelphia Eagles on May 12th which he dominated. Michael arguably out right beat current Eagles starting Kicker Alex Henery. Barnard went 30/32 in field goal attempts and kicked consecutive 60+ yard field goals. Michael has the power to kick 64 yard field goals consistantly. To add on to that already impressive performance Barnard also booted 70 to an astronomical 84 yard kickoffs. Even after his stellar performance Michael left Philadelphia without a contract. You have to ask yourself, how does this kid not get a shot? At the absolute least Barnard provides excellent kicking competition in camp. But if his competition slips Barnard has the skill and ability to nab the starting kicking job. Teams such as the Rams, Seahawks, Redskins, Vikings and Steelers all could use Barnard’s leg. Whether Michael is the next Sebastian Janikowski or Doug Brien remains to be seen. Until Michael Barnard gets the shot in the NFL he deserves we will never know how good he truly is. After speaking with Michael Barnard it is evident that he is determined to get into the league. But apparently he can’t get in through the back door, garage, or that one window everyone leaves open to air out the house. Here is the FullScaleSports exclusive interview with Michael Barnard.
1. Out of all the kickers you have learned from, who has taught you the most?
I would have to say I learned the most from David Akers. Although, many other current and former NFL kickers have helped me in my path to the NFL, David I feel was the biggest help.
2. What current kicker do you think you’re most comparable to?
I feel I am most comparable to kickers like Mason Crosby and Sebastian Janikowski. They possess the ability to be deadly accurate and kick fgs over 60+ yards regularly and kickoffs in excess of 75+ just as I do.
3.Whats was the most memorable kick of your career?
It was my 49 yard field goal in my 4th ever high school game my senior year. The kick crossed over the top of the goal posts and landed on a track 20 yards behind the field goal. And I did this with no know how to kick a football. Just raw strength and powering the ball through the uprights is what i did to make that kick. Now I look back on that kick and laugh, as I see so many technique issues but that was my most memorable kick. I’ve had game winning field goals in college, but that 49 yarder in high school kept me thinking that maybe I have a shot to play at the next level and then maybe even higher!
4.Who was your favorite team growing up and why?
The Philadelphia Eagles were my favorite team growing up. My father was a huge passionate eagles fan and I just inherited that love he had for them.
5.Why do you believe you can make it in the NFL?
No one trains harder than I do. No one wants it more than I do. No one gives up what I have given up to make it. And it was all worth it the second Eagles Special Teams coach Bobby April called to say the Philadelphia Eagles are inviting you to mini camp.
6.What is the most important quality for a kicker to have?
There are many important qualities that a good kicker possesses but I feel the most important quality is to be mentally tough. You have to have ice in your veins so to speak, and not be phased by anything that comes your way.
7. You’re about to kick a game winning fieldgoal, whats going through your mind?
Absolutely nothing. I take every kick as its my last so no one kick is more important than another.
8.What is your workout regime consist of?
5 days a week of kicking for up to 2-3 hours at a time. 3 days a week with my gym trainer and about 2-3 days more in the gym on my own. I love what I do and I work hard at it because I do not plan on being an average NFL kicker. I want to be one of the best to ever do it.
9. What specifically has Phil Dawson taught you?
Can’t give out to much information! just kidding! Just general tips from a 15 year veteran who knows what he is doing and you sit back and listen and learn.
10. Do you play with a chip on your shoulder, do you feel like you have anything to prove?
I have a chip on my shoulder 24/7 that will never go away. No matter how good I do, I will never be satisfied. I feel every nfl player has something to prove. The day you stop improving and getting better is the day you can say hello to your new replacement. The NFL is a business first and if you do not produce, you wont be there too long.
11.What did you get your degree in?
Bachelors degree in Psychology. Was planning on getting my masters but after college I realized I had a slim window if I was going to make a go of the NFL, so I went all in. I do feel as though one day after my career is over that I will get that masters degree.
12.We all know how well you can boot the ball, how about onside kicks?
Onsides kicks was a work in progress for me when I first started learning them. Onsides kicking is a super skill I must say. I am pretty good at it now but I know some kickers that can really do some sick onsides kicks, but they can’t kick the deep ball like I can! You can’t be perfect at everything, but the overall kicker I am, I can do it all and at a high level.
13.Did you ever play soccer?
15 years of my life. started varsity on a big high school as a freshman too.
14.Where did you get the nickname “money mike”?
15.If you could meet any person in history, dead or alive who would it be and why?
good question. I would say Michael Jordan because of his life story from being cut in high school to being the greatest basketball player to ever live. It shows you that it doesnt matter what anyone else says about you, it only matters what you say and feel about you. If you believe in yourself than anything is possible.
16.What do you do when you aren’t kicking a football?
I like going to the beach a lot. I go when I can. Its a nice break from life on and off the field.
17. Do you believe you out kicked Henerey at the mini camp?
Alex is a good kicker for sure but there isn’t one kicker in the league I feel I could not go up against and come out feeling confident.
18. What was your first NFL experience like?
Within 10 minutes of being in the facilites, I had about 12 cameras in my face and did interviews for NBC, ABC and Comcast.
19. What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to get to where you are today?
My grandfather passing away with his last words to me, “your going to make it Michael. I know you are.”. Also my fathers best friend and basically my second father, nick, passing away at the young age of 54.
20. Explain why you can be a successful NFL kicker.
I am never satisfied and I feel strongly that will always drive me to be the best I can be.
21. What is your strongest personal quality?
My drive to never give up.
22. Thank you for your time and I wish you nothing but the best. You are an undeniable talent and you truly deserve a shot in the NFL.
Thank you Josh. Good luck in all your future endeavors!
Don’t believe a talent this good could still be available for any team to gobble up? Check this video:
For further information on Michael Barnard you can follow him on twitter: @kickerWITstyle or his agent Brad Berkowitz: @BradBerkowitz.