Barnwell apologizes for arrest on DWI charge
All Nadir Barnwell can do now is learn from a mistake which he said could have thrown his football career away.
“I can’t really talk right now about what happened and any legal matters because we’re still in the process,” Barnwell said. “But I want to start off by saying I want to apologize to my family, my Rutgers family, the coaches in this program for the embarrassment of bringing this bad attention to everybody.”
The freshman cornerback was arrested Oct. 27 at 3:30 a.m. and charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. He was involved in a single-car accident on the corner of Route. 18 and Campus Road in Piscataway.
Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood suspended Barnwell from all team activities leading up to and including the Scarlet Knights’ 23-20 victory last Saturday against Temple.
Barnwell was reinstated the day after and participated in practice since.
“I learned a lot,” Barnwell said. “I almost threw everything away like that. I definitely talked to God. I talked to my family. I talked to the coaches. I really understand what I took for granted, thinking I’m always going to have football in my life and I almost threw it away — the one thing I really love.”
Freshman cornerback Anthony Cioffi said he saw the same competiveness Barnwell possessed before his arrest this week. He witnessed it since they roomed together during training camp.
“He’s handled it great,” Cioffi said. “It’s just adversity, for him. He just has to show himself and I know he’ll do it.”
With the arrest behind him, Barnwell now must earn back his starting role he vacated. Freshman cornerback Delon Stevenson replaced Barnwell against the Owls, producing an interception and two quarterback hurries. Redshirt freshman Ruhan Peele is also set to play corner against the Bearcats.
Flood said he will have to see more in practice before he can make a decision on who will start in the Knights’ next game Nov. 16 against Cincinnati, though at least one true freshman corner will see time in a starting capacity.
It is a role Flood knows is difficult for any rookie.
“I think the toughest thing for a corner is that when they do it in high school — if they do it in high school — a lot of times they overmatch the people they play against,” Flood said. “In college football, you are going to be playing against 21-, 22-year-old men who are just as big, just as strong, just as fast as you are.”
Even if he does not reclaim his starting position he held for four games this season, Barnwell is fine with that.
He just wants to make sure he never puts his team in bad positions from off-field mistakes.
“I know the coaches are going to do what’s best for the program,” Barnwell said. “What worked last game I’m sure they’re going to try to have it work next game. My biggest thing is to try to earn my way back into the rotation as much as I can and add as much as I can to the team.”
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