A Junior walk-on wide receiver A.J. Barker was extremely unhappy with Minnesota Head Coach Jerry Kill and posted a detailed account of why he chose to leave the team on his Tumblr page.
According to Barker, his high ankle sprain injury was mishandled and he was rushed to come back during the entire recovery process. He says that Kill rushed him to come back, and when he couldn’t play at a high level, that Kill called his character into question and berated him for not being able to play.
Because of his high ankle sprain, Barker has been unable to play in the last three games this year (and won’t play for Minnesota again), yet, he still leads the Gophers in receiving. He currently has 577 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns on 30 receptions; a great deal of production out of a walk-on receiver.
One of the deciding reasons for Barker to leave came last Thursday when Kill overheard a conversation that Barker was having with one of the trainers.
“It was during this discussion that you came over and exploded on me in front of the entire team in our indoor facility. “YOU DON’T FU***** GET TO TELL THE TRAINER WHAT YOU DO!” followed by a 20 minute tyraid where you attacked everything about me, from an athlete to my character as a person. I took every word of it replying faithfully “Yes sir. Yes sir. No, sorry sir” and watched as you demeaned me to a point of no return. You took the one thing you had a say in (my football playing career and my future) and you held it against me in an attempt to break me, going as far as to tell me I’ll never get a scholarship or see the field again.”
Barker then went on to say that Kill tried to fix the situation by manipulating him and telling him that he is lucky to have the opportunity at coming back to the football team.
Jerry Kill has been a widely respected coach throughout the NCAA and to hear this come out is pretty surprising. Normally you expect some kids to be dissatisfied with coaches and when kids leave, they often throw parting shots. But, when it comes from a walk-on player it seems to be more convincing; not to mention the amount of detail that he was able to put into this absolute roasting of Jerry Kill.
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
— AJ Barker (@A_Barker_82) November 18, 2012
I followed my heart, and in one week or one year or fifty years no one will remember. Stand up for what you believe in.
— AJ Barker (@A_Barker_82) November 19, 2012
If you read the entire “My Letter to Jerry Kill, why I quit” it’s pretty incredible. He destroys Kill and I would expect Kill’s reputation to take a serious hit after all of this. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA does anything with this or if they look into the mistreatment of players at Minnesota. I feel as though this is not the end of the Barker-Kill saga, and that it has only just begun.
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