Second-year fullback Darian Barnes is considered, by many teammates, the most "unique" individual on the team. Brace yourselves.
By ROGER MILLS
Published December 7, 2003
RM: I need to know about the Repenter.
DB: You know about the Repenter?
RM: Tell me about the Repenter.
DB: It was my freshman year in college (at Rutgers) and I had this hood and cape and big black hat and this water gun. The whole getup was black so I couldn't be seen at night. I would sneak around campus spraying people with water and shouting, "Repent!" It was funny. I did it for about two months.
RM: Was the identity of the Repenter ever revealed?
DB: Not really. A couple of my teammates thought it was me, but they weren't sure. I kind of made a name for myself. Then cops came into the dorm and said they were looking for a guy dressed in a cape who had been shooting students at night with a water gun. I was sitting in the lounge and said, "Who would do something so stupid?" But I stopped. I know right from wrong.
RM: The cats.
DB: I've got five cats. I love cats. The oldest is Anatoli (a domestic), and he's very carefree and likes to eat. Now he fights the other cats and puts the lazy paw on them where he hits them, and it looks harmless - but it hurts. The second oldest is Bobby. She's a Siamese cat, a very pretty cat, but she's very finicky. The third oldest is Reuben. He's a rag doll who also likes to eat. Then there's Cat, she's a Maine Coon.
RM: You named a cat Cat?
DB: What's wrong with that? Actually it's short for Catherine, but it's Cat. She's also very finicky. Then the other one is Jesus. He's domestic but he's the kindest cat I've ever seen.
RM: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you're the only player in the NFL with five cats.
RM: What can a cat do?
DB: Cats have personality, it just takes some time to find it out. Like Jesus, he's got a foot fetish. He needs people's feet. He loves feet. It's his thing. Anatoli is totally carefree. My girlfriend has a dog and usually cats avoid dogs, but he just falls over and looks at the dog.
RM: But a cat can't fetch.
DB: Let me tell you something about dogs. My girlfriend has a dog (a Border Collie mix) and every day I go home, this dog pees on my leg. He gets so excited to see me. She could walk him minutes before I come home and when I walk in the door and he sees me and makes it a point to pee on me. Dogs do that. They drool, and when a dog smells, he really smells.
RM: What are your hobbies?
DB: I like to dress up randomly in different costumes.
RM: That's a little unusual.
(Tight end Todd Yoder walks by and has a few things to say).
TY: I can't believe you're talking to this guy. He's nuts.
RM: What's wrong with him?
TY: All I'm going to say is that part of his thing is an act. He's not as crazy as he wants people to think.
DB: He thinks I want attention, but that's not true.
TY: You do. It's like you covet the attention. You crave it. You like the fact that people think you're crazy. Don't deny that a lot of people think you're crazy.
DB: But I tell a lot of people I'm not crazy.
TY: You see, he feeds off of that.
DB: Here's the truth, I think some of the things I do aren't really crazy but funny. They may not be funny to (Todd), but it's funny to me.
RM: Such as?
DB: I once went to an 8 a.m. class during my junior year (at Hampton, where he transferred from Rutgers) in a ripped-up T-shirt, pajamas and a hooded cape. I was going to be late and it was cold and it was a review for an exam. I couldn't find my coat, so I just threw on the cape over my pajamas and went to the class. The teacher realized but didn't say anything. I think she was stunned. She just shook her head. I wore that cape and hood for the entire class.
RM: You're an artist?
DB: Yeah, I started drawing and writing comic book characters when I was 14, and it's still a hobby of mine. I've been working on a project and I hope one day I can have it published.
RM: Tell me about a character.
DB: I don't want to do that. When I was with the Giants this reporter from the New York Post asked me what I wanted to do outside the NFL and I told him I want to write and draw comics. I told him about this story, and it had to do vampires. Well, the next morning my dad calls and reads me the first line from the Post and it said, "If Darian Barnes doesn't make it in the NFL, he's going to Ohio to be a vampire." He wrote it that way. He misinterpreted everything.
RM: I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this, but how come a junior player like yourself rooms on his own on the road?
DB: Well, we had the offer to room by ourselves, but I think a lot of guys on the team - not all of them, but some of them - think I'm too weird to room with.
RM: Imagine that.
DB: And it's because I snore. When I'm tired, I snore incredibly loud.
RM: I did an informal poll in the locker room today and virtually everyone said you're completely crazy.
DB: You see, I play around a lot. Some of the stuff I do is hilarious. I've got a bunch of friends back in Jersey (Toms River) that do the same things I do. I just have a sense of humor.
RM: There's a fine line there.
DB: One year, I taped (a guy) on top of a Grand Cherokee and drove it onto the girls softball field. It was funny. Everyone laughed ... but him.
RM: How old are you Darian?
DB: I'm 23. Going to be 6 next year.
RM: That explains the fascination with SpongeBob.
DB: I think he's funny, absolutely hilarious. Actually, he's not even my favorite. I like the Angry Beavers. That's the funniest thing I have ever seen. But I can sit down and watch the cartoons. I think they're really entertaining. I wear SpongeBob boxers and T-shirts. I do.
RM: But Darian, you went on Bay News 9 in a SpongeBob costume.
DB: My girlfriend got it for me for our anniversary. The producer of the show called me and said the limo was going to be there in 20 minutes and said I could wear what I want. I didn't bring a change of clothes. So, they were a little shocked when I got there in the costume.
RM: Did any of your teammates see you in it?
DB: Actually, after the show, I went to a party one of the players was having at his house and I stayed about an hour. I wore the SpongeBob outfit.
RM: I'm also going to go out on a limb and say you're one of few NFL players wearing SpongeBob underpants.
DB: That puts me in an exclusive group.
RM: Your slurping annoys your teammates.
DB: When I was a kid, my parents used to sit me on the other side of the table because I had such bad table manners. In fact, when we went out, they would flip a coin in the car to see who would sit next to me. The slurping is something I can't help.
RM: You still say you're not weird?
DB: No. Weird is sleeping with Teddy bears . . . and stuff like that. I'm not weird.
RM: You have a wrestling personality known as the Rock Dozer?
DB: A close friend of mine, who is the actual uncle of the wrestler (The Rock) had been challenging me to a fight for many years and eventually we wrestled in a backyard-type thing. I was 19 and about 225 pounds and he was this big Samoan guy. I beat the hell out of him. I had two signature moves, the Tax Down and the Spellcheck. The Tax Down was kind of like a neck dragdown. The Spellcheck is me punching him and spelling out Rock Dozer.
RM: What scares you?
DB: Driving down 275 looking to my left and seeing a 75-year-old woman who can't see over her dashboard. And then looking to my right and seeing a 16-year-old with her head bobbing and neck moving, and she can't look at the road. That scares me.