- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 15, 2002

When they played together in Washington the past two years, linebackers Shawn Barber and LaVar Arrington liked to call themselves the Dynamic Duo. They lived across the street from each other in Ashburn and hung out on and off the field. Can they still be Batman and Robin on opposite sidelines when Philadelphia comes to town tomorrow night?
"We're still the dynamic duo," said the 27-year-old Barber, who signed a one-year contract with the Eagles on March 15, two weeks after the Redskins signed Jessie Armstead from the New York Giants to take his job. "It was just time for one of us to go to a different city and fight crime. We're the good guys fighting evil. The offenses are evil."
But despite being pushed aside by Washington's new coaching staff, Barber can't work up a good hate for the Redskins.
"I don't have anything more to prove to the Redskins than I do to anybody else," said Barber, who still calls Ashburn home. "I don't have any bitterness toward any of the players. I got along with everybody in the locker room. There wasn't any ill will when I left, even with the front office. It was a move that needed to be made. It ended up working out for both sides. They ended up getting the Pro Bowl player they wanted and I'm up here making my own plays."
Barber certainly did that in his first game as an Eagle last Sunday. The one-time safety at Division I-AA Richmond made seven tackles, recovered two fumbles and intercepted a pass in Philadelphia's 27-24 loss at Tennessee. In three-plus seasons (and 34 starts) as a Redskin, he never had a hand in even two turnovers in a game.
"Shawn played very well," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "Shawn is a tremendous athlete who gives you a lot of versatility at the weak-side linebacker spot."
That versatility he was taken in the fourth round of the 1998 draft to be a pass-coverage linebacker, but he can also rush the quarterback is also true of Barber's ability to adapt to new situations.
"I've proven that I have the ability to learn different systems very quickly," said Barber, who played in three defensive schemes during his four years as a Redskin. "When I was in Washington, there was a great deal of turnover so it was hard to feel like you were a team that was growing. You had to start over every year learning a new defense and having to deal with a new coordinator to the point that you never felt like you had come back to the same team. I wanted a little more stability. That's what I've found here."
The stability that Barber was most concerned with during the offseason was that of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, which he tore last Sept. 30 against Kansas City. He spent the rest of the season on injured reserve.
"I wasn't focusing on what team I was going to be with," Barber said. "I had to focus on my rehab and getting back into playing shape by the beginning of training camp and the signing would take care of itself. That's what happened. This is going to be a good fit for me. It's a very aggressive, dictating defense."
If Barber tries to dictate play to the Redskins with blitzes tomorrow, offensive tackle Chris Samuels said he'll be ready.
"I know Shawn will be fired up," Samuels said. "He has a lot of friends here. Shawn's my boy, but if he blitzes, I'm going to do my best to take him out."
Despite his ties to Arrington, Samuels and so many Redskins, Barber is trying not to put too much emphasis on his first game against his former team.
"I'm not going to get emotional just because I'm playing Washington," Barber said.
"I get a little emotional every time I play because I'm coming off the injury and I realized how much I missed the game. I was emotional last week. I'm preparing the same way this week. It will be good not only to see LaVar and the rest of the players, but some of the fans. You get a little attached to them. I'll be looking for the guy in the far red zone in the red Redskins shirt telling everybody to pump it up. You never forget about him."
And the man in the burgundy No. 56 jersey can't forget his partner in fighting crime.
"I hope the Eagles lose, but I hope Shawn plays well," Arrington said. "The business part of this will never affect our friendship. I miss Shawn."


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