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Minnesota wide receiver A.J. Barker says he's quitting the team and will transfer because of alleged mistreatment by head coach Jerry Kill and the team's training staff in the wake of an ankle injury Barker suffered last month.
Barker, who leads the Gophers with 30 catches for 577 yards and seven touchdowns, wrote on his Twitter page Sunday afternoon: "Well, its official. I am done playing football for the University of Minnesota and I will be looking to transfer next season for my final yr."
He then directed his Twitter followers to an extensive message on Tumblr entitled: "My letter to Jerry Kill, why I quit."
Barker alleges that Kill confronted him at a recent practice and questioned how he had approached his rehab from the ankle injury. He also alleges that the team's training staff didn't immediately inform him he had a high ankle sprain after he tried to return to the field Nov. 5 against Michigan. Barker suffered his injury Oct. 27 against Purdue.
Barker wrote, "Thank you for showing me your true colors; that you will stop at nothing to prove you have control over me. ... In light of that pathetic, manipulative display of rage and love you put on this past Thursday, I have come to the decision, with the guidance of my parents and my closest friends, that my time on this team has come to an end. It kills me that I have to do this before the season's over, but this is the only way I can protect myself against the manipulation and abuse I'd have to endure from you the rest of this season."
Barker also accuses tight ends coach Rob Reeves of calling him a slur because of his religious views.
A team spokesman told ESPN that he's looking into the situation, and the school released a statement later Sunday night.
"Coach Kill received an email from A.J. Barker today notifying the Coach that he has quit the team," the statement said. "Coach Kill tried reaching out to A.J. after receiving the email, but was unable to connect with him. We understand A.J.'s frustration with his injury, and we regret that he has chosen to leave the team on these terms. Our concern first and foremost is student athletes and we wish A.J. well."
Barker is a junior who walked onto the team but emerged this season. He has one year of eligibility left and wouldn't have to sit out if he transfers.