Rodrigo Barnes

Rodrigo Barnes
No. 56, 59, 55, 51
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1950-02-10) February 10, 1950
Place of birth: Waco, Texas
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
College: Rice
NFL Draft: 1973 / Round: 7 / Pick: 176
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
  • Second-Team All-SWC (1969)
  • SWC Sophomore Defensive Player of the Year (1969)
  • All-SWC (1971, 1972)
  • SWC Defensive Player of the Year (1971)
  • Super Bowl champion (XI)
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 35
Games started: 0
Fumble recoveries: 2
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Rodrigo DeTriana Barnes (born February 10, 1950) is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League who played for the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders. He played college football for Rice University.

Early years

Barnes attended George Washington Carver High School, where he received 3A second-team All-State honors in football. He accepted a scholarship from Rice University, where at the time he was one of only four African-American players. He also became the first African-American to be named to the All-SWC defensive team. In his senior year he was limited with a knee injury.

In college he was one of the organizers of the Black Student Union. He also was part of a movement to pressure the University to hire more African-American teachers and coaches.

In 2011, he was inducted into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame.[1]

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

He was selected in the seventh round (176th overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, after he dropped because teams were cautious of his civil rights activism. His athletic ability and production, propelled him to become the second African-American linebacker to make the team in franchise history (Ralph Coleman was the first).

Barnes could play all three linebacker positions, but he mainly competed for the middle linebacker position against Lee Roy Jordan. His best moment came in a preseason game in 1973 against the Miami Dolphins, when he helped stop Larry Csonka three times in a row, during a 2-yard goal-line stand.[2] He was a core special teams player.

His relationship with the team started to deteriorate,[3] with his growing belief that racial reasons were the main cause of him remaining in a reserve role. He eventually was released in November 1974.[4]

New England Patriots (first stint)

On November 11, 1974, he was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots.[5]

Charlotte Hornets (WFL)

Barnes played 2 games for the Charlotte Hornets of the World Football League, until the league ceased operations at the mid-season point in 1975.[6]

New England Patriots (second stint)

In 1975, he signed with the New England Patriots and was waived after the season opener.[7]

Miami Dolphins

On November 19, 1975, he was signed as a free agent by the Miami Dolphins.[8] On April 7, 1976, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for a twelfth round draft choice.[9]

St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals released him on September 2, 1976.[10]

Oakland Raiders

On November 15, 1976, the Oakland Raiders signed him as a free agent because of injuries in the linebacking corps. He was a part of the Super Bowl XI winning team, playing mainly on special teams. Injuries forced him to retire in 1977.

Personal life

Barnes was an assistant coach in the United States Football League from 1979 to 1981. He currently works as a high school assistant principal.[11]


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