Former Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams dumped on Dave Gettleman during Super Bowl week for Gettleman’s poor bedside manner when he let Williams go in Charlotte.
But another former Panthers running back, Kenjon Barner, had a much different take on Gettleman this week. Barner said the ex-Carolina general manager demonstrated decency in 2014 when Gettleman traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional draft pick.
Barner, who will return kicks and punts in Sunday’s Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots, said he respects the way Gettleman and Panthers coach Ron Rivera handled the situation when then-Eagles coach Chip Kelly called asking about acquiring Barner.
“They said Chip has been calling about you and wants to trade for you. We think it’ll be beneficial for your career. We think it’ll help you get back to playing football the way you know how and the way we feel you can play. What do you think?” Barner recalled Wednesday during the Eagles’ media session.
Barner was blown away by the fact that Gettleman, now the New York Giants GM, and Rivera sought input from Barner, who had played for Kelly at Oregon.
... after talking to guys who’ve been in the league a lot longer than I have, the way they handled that, the way they approached me about it, GMs and coaches don’t do that.
Kenjon Barner, on how Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera approached him about his trade from the Carolina Panthers to the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I know for a fact after talking to guys who’ve been in the league a lot longer than I have, the way they handled that, the way they approached me about it, GMs and coaches don’t do that,” he said.
Barner, a sixth-round pick of the Panthers, hadn’t done much as a rookie in 2013. He had 10 total touches – six carries, two catches and two kick returns – that totaled 31 yards.
Barner told Gettleman and Rivera he liked being in Charlotte, but he would go along with their decision. During a 20-minute meeting that moved Barner to tears, his coach and GM said they thought reuniting with his college coach might be beneficial.
Barner ended up finding his niche in Philly, where he survived the coaching change that saw Doug Pederson replace Kelly. And while he knows ex-Panthers such as Williams and Steve Smith have blasted Gettleman for how he handled their exits, Barner says he had a “completely different” experience.
“I have nothing bad to say about that man. I have nothing bad to say about Coach Rivera. I have the utmost respect for those guys and the way they handled my situation because they didn’t have to,” Barner said.
“I can’t speak for everybody else’s situation. Everybody else is different. But for me, I respect those guys and I have absolute nothing but love for those guys.”