Originally created 04/24/04

Gibbs' persuasion lands Barrow in Washington



ASHBURN, Va. -- Peaceful moments can be hard to come by for a football player pursued by coach Joe Gibbs. Just ask free agent linebacker Mike Barrow, who signed with the Washington Redskins on Friday.

"You talk about a little voice in your head that tells you where to go - he was my voice," Barrow said. "Every minute, every day, he called me."

Barrow, cut last month by the New York Giants, chose the Redskins over the Detroit Lions and is expected to replace Jeremiah Trotter at middle linebacker. Barrow said Gibbs' views on family, faith and football swayed his decision, along with his own view that the Redskins are closer to winning a Super Bowl.

"I'm on that back nine," said Barrow, entering his 12th NFL season. "I want to finish strong, like Tiger Woods."

Barrow turned 34 on Monday, seven years older than Trotter, who has been a disappointment since joining the Redskins as a free agent two years ago. Barrow said his dedication to offseason workouts have him feeling more like 26 or 27.

"I think I will get tired mentally before I get tired physically," Barrow said. "I feel like I'm in the prime of my life. I've always been a late bloomer physically."

Said Gibbs: "Some guys at 34, they're young. He's a fanatic as far as working out and taking care of himself."

Barrow led the New York Giants in tackles each of the last three seasons, but he was cut last month after he refused to restructure his contract. He began his career with the Houston Oilers, where he played under current Redskins assistant coach for defense Gregg Williams.

Trotter is still on the roster, but he has been given permission to seek a trade. If no deal is made, he will probably be cut after June 1 to save money under the salary cap.

Barrow attended the University of Miami, and he's looking forward to seeing which Hurricanes player - safety Sean Taylor or tight end Kellen Winslow - will be the Redskins' choice with the No. 5 overall pick in Saturday's draft.

"You talk about Quarterback U., Linebacker U." Barrow said. "I always felt like we're NFL-U."