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Nick Barnett Eagerly Awaiting Preseason Debut

Signed to a one-year contract early in training camp, the inside linebacker has slowly gotten up to speed with his conditioning and knowledge of the defense over the past month.


ASHBURN – Nick Barnett has complied with every instruction the Redskins have given over the past three weeks.


But the linebacker, sensing his preseason debut looming, is starting to get impatient.

“I’m just here to do whatever they tell me to do, so if they let the lion off the chain, I’ll be out there roaming the jungle,” Barnett said.

Barnett, signed as a free agent on July 31, appears on track to play in his first game Saturday when the Redskins host his former team, the Bills.

He had to improve his conditioning following offseason knee surgery, which he said was a minor procedure to clean up his right knee. Two weeks ago, he joined the second-team defense in team drills for the first time, playing mike linebacker.

Part of the reason Barnett was intrigued by the Redskins’ one-year contract offer was because of the similarities between their defense and that of the Packers, where he played his first eight seasons.

“I haven’t played that defense for three years now, but the terminology and you know, the way you play that defense is very, very similar,” Barnett said. “I think because I’ve had that prior exposure to that defense, I was able to pick it up a little bit faster than if I had no idea or no exposure to it.”

Until Wednesday, Barnett hadn’t been making the defensive calls in practice. He deferred to the jack linebacker – often Bryan Kehl – to ensure he didn’t make any mistakes.

“Good things come to those who wait,” Barnett said. “Whenever I get out there, I’ll let that anxiousness turn into excitement.”