Barnes: Whirlwind of events

Let's see, where do I start?

Over the past three months I have selected an agent (Kenny Zuckerman of Priority Sports) to represent me in my NFL career; rehabbed an injury; left home to train; played in the Senior Bowl; and participated in the NFL scouting combine. It's actually been a bit overwhelming when I look back on it all.

I selected Kenny and Priority Sports because I felt that with their track record of client success, especially with offensive linemen and players such as Robert Gallery and Levi Jones, they would provide me with the best possible guidance and direction as I made the leap into the NFL.

When I met with Kenny, he had a specific game plan for me and his knowledge of offensive linemen offered me invaluable insight during the pre-draft process that would help in increasing my draft stock. He allowed me to train anywhere I wanted to, and I chose to go to Athletes Performance in Tempe, Ariz., which is where I have been for the past three months. I knew going into the training that I had to be very focused and determined if I wanted to make a name for myself and increase my draft stock. In my eyes, I had to play catch up because of the wrist injury that ended my senior season early. But with a lot of hard work and successful rehabbing, the wrist got better and it was back to football as usual.

My first order of business was the Senior Bowl. I needed to go there out to prove to teams that I was worthy of being one of the top tackles in the draft, and I think I did that.

Up next was the combine. When it comes to pre-draft events, and opportunities to impress teams, the combine is center stage. It's where everything about your game, about your character, about you, are dissected. Over a span of four days, you are rushed in and out of rooms, inspected thoroughly, interviewed by teams and media, and given tests; all of which can happen before you even step on the field to show your football skills. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. But once I made it through all of the "extras," I think I had a very good performance. I put up 26 reps on the bench (I told you the wrist was fine) and ran the fastest 40 time among offensive tackles. All in all, I think I did what I set out to do there.

Living alone in Tempe gave me a lot of time to not only brush up on my [John] Madden [video game] skills, but to think about everything that has gone on. I came to the University of Washington as a freshman defensive tackle with dreams of playing in the NFL. But I had no idea of the journey it would take to get there. Here I am now, a position change and five years later, with a little over a month away from making that dream a reality. The anticipation of what is to come has made these past few months seem like forever. But I guess I have waited this long for it, so what is one more month, right?

I just made it back to Seattle last night, and I need to go work out in preparation for my "pro day." I'm only doing a few things but I'll be available to do any positional work teams want to see. I'll let you know how it goes next time.

That should be it for this week; we should be all caught up now. I think I'll get a quick game of Madden in before I head out. For now, I'm just honing skills, but I'm sure I'll have a team of choice in Madden 2006.