Washington Redskins reserve linebacker Nick Barnett returns home this weekend.
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2003, Barnett spent eight years playing football at historic Lambeau Field before he left the organization after the 2010 season. He spent two years in Buffalo, but kept a house in Green Bay, where his mother and sister still live.
Barnett plans to return to his native California when his football career is finished, but Green Bay remains home for now. And he has requested 20 tickets for friends and family when the Redskins play the Packers on Sunday afternoon. He should fill that allotment easily. His teammates probably won’t need them.
“Not too many [Redskins] got people going to a Packers game,” Barnett joked.
Barnett hopes he actually sees the field, however, in his homecoming. A reserve middle linebacker behind veteran London Fletcher, he didn’t see the field against Philadelphia. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said his team’s old defense “was pretty much build around Nick as the primary tackler.”
At 32, those days are gone. But Washington hopes Barnett eventually provides depth at that spot this season. He was one of only three Redskins – backup quarterback Kirk Cousins and reserve offensive lineman Adam Gettis were the others – who didn’t play at all in Week 1.
“It’s special to play there when you’re a Packer,” Barnett said. “I never went in there as an opposing team, but I would think going in there, seeing 70,000 fans coming out of the middle of nowhere when you’re driving in a bus – you’re just seeing suburbs and farms and stuff and them boom! It’s a whole new world.”