Having been out of shape and out of football not long ago, defensive tackle T.J. Barnes is thankful to have landed on an offseason NFL roster.
Barnes, signed by the Panthers last month, shared how he got back in the mix on - of all things - a TV talk show.
Barnes recently appeared on "Steve!" - a daytime talk show hosted by Steve Harvey - to thank a guest who wrote a diet book that helped get Barnes back on track (You watch his appearance here at the 1:16 mark).
When Barnes - an undrafted rookie in 2013 who has played in 21 NFL games but none since 2016 – signed with the Panthers, he did so wearing a worked-in Stanley Steemer shirt to remind him of his journey.
“It’s been a long year-and-a-half. I’m just thankful that somebody took interest in me honestly,” said Barnes, who worked at Stanley Steemer among other things before getting his foot back in the door via a stint with the short-lived Alliance of American Football. “It’s been a long grind for me because I was 400 pounds last summer. I’m down to 352 now.”
Barnes also took part in a WWE tryout camp when he was out of football, calling that experience “three days of hell.” He has to be considered a long shot to make the Panthers’ regular season roster, but if he did it would be - well - a made-for-TV story.