Friends since grade school, Krys Barnes and Jordan Love have spent a lot of their time together surrounded by cheering crowds.
Football teammates at Liberty High School, Barnes, a linebacker, and Love, a quarterback, were instrumental parts of a historic 2015 season, where they led the Patriots to the first Division I Central Section championship in school history.
After going their separate ways in college, the friends will get to reunite on the big stage this fall. Just two days after Love, a record-setting signal caller at Utah State, was taken by the Packers in the first round of the draft, the team brought his high school teammate in the fold, signing Barnes as an undrafted free agent on Saturday.
And We Have another GREEN BAY PACKER! Congratulations to Liberty Gridiron Patriot Krys Barnes @KrysBarnes on signing with The Green Bay Packers! Teammates together again! God Bless these two! #PatsUp🇺🇸👆🏼 #GoPack🧀🧀 pic.twitter.com/P1nF1XLJ74— Liberty Patriot Gridiron (@GridironPatriot) April 25, 2020
Hoping to play in front of thousands of cheering fans in Green Bay this fall, the pair spent Saturday night in front of a smaller, but equally enthusiastic group of spectators in Bakersfield, one that gathered to once again celebrate their athletic accomplishments.
With Love joining in on a party thrown for Krys at the Barnes home, the duo popped celebratory bottles of champaign to the delight of friends and family who loudly applauded the duo's NFL achievement.
"I wanted to be able to do that with Jordan, just as a celebration that we both made it to a team, let alone the same team, Barnes said. "Just being able to be in that moment and knowing all the hard work we’ve put in, have my family there to see it, it was a good thing for both of us. My parents consider him family so we were all excited for the future and what it holds.”
Though he and Love discussed the possibility of teaming up during pre-draft workouts, Barnes says the decision to sign in Green Bay was one he made independently.
Quickly shaking off the disappointment of not being drafted, Barnes and his agent quickly started fielding offers, as the Vikings, Chargers and Texans all expressed interested in the linebacker, a three-year starter at UCLA.
But Barnes, who was in regular contact with Green Bay throughout the offseason, felt the Packers were a great fit, their offer made all the more enticing by the drafting of Love.
"When it came to free agency, I kind of had to take (Love) out of the equation," he said. "And even with Jordan out of the equation, Green Bay was still a perfect fit. Jordan's a bonus and he's a great bonus to have, but he really wasn't part of the equation when I was weighing the options."
Far from assured a spot on the team's 2020 roster, Barnes is aiming to be as prepared as possible when the preseason begins. Hoping to prove teams undervalued him, he feels he landed in a perfect place to do so.
"It's been a lot of emotions. Watching the draft, you hope your name would be called and when it’s not it’s a different type of emotion," he said. "But then you get the call and you make things official and you get a sense of relief and excitement for the future.
“We knew (Green Bay) would be a great opportunity for success if I went there and I think it’s a great decision. It’s the best opportunity and it’s a great fit.”