Former Eagles Super Bowl Champion Suspended for PEDs

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Getty Kenjon Barner (38) Halapoulivaati Vaitai celebrate after winning Super Bowl LII for the Eagles in 2018.

Former Eagles running back Kenjon Barner has only gained 416 career rushing yards over eight NFL seasons. Yet he has two Super Bowl rings to his name, impressive in the wildest of ways. He earned his first Lombardi in 2017 with the Eagles, then earned a second one in 2018 as a member of the Patriots.

On Tuesday, Barner was suspended by the league office for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The current Buccaneers rusher will miss four games without pay. It’s grim news for a player who was already in the concussion protocol after sustaining a head injury last week. The earliest Barner can return to action is Nov. 10 or Week 9, per ESPN.

That leaves Tampa Bay extremely thin in the backfield as both LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette are nursing ankle injuries. They could be good bets to hit the waiver wire for some added depth at the position. Ronald Jones remains the primary rusher there.

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One of Chip Kelly’s  Infamous ‘Baby Ducks’

Remember the Chip Kelly experience in Philadelphia? Right. How could anyone forget that neon green nightmare!

Barner was drafted by Carolina in the sixth round (182nd overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft but played a limited role on special teams. In 2014, the Eagles sent a conditional seventh-rounder in exchange for the speedster — 4.52 seconds in the 40 — at the behest of Kelly who had coached him at Oregon.

“He’s obviously a guy I know really well from Oregon, where he had a very productive career,” Kelly said at the time, via FOX 12 in Oregon. “He has a lot of speed, explosiveness and had a knack for making some really big plays.”

After one-year on the practice squad, he carved out a role as a return specialist — including one kick and one punt return for a touchdown in the preseason — and Doug Pederson kept him around when Kelly was fired in 2016.

In four years in Philly, Barner tallied 740 total return yards and his 1,157 kickoff return yards rank 23rd all-time among active players. Back to that magical Eagles’ Super Bowl season in 2017 for a second. He averaged 8.9 yards on 27 punt returns and 19.4 yards on 10 kickoff returns, including three kickoff returns for 73 yards (24.3) in Super Bowl LII. Not too shabby, thus earning a ring for the underdog champions.

Barner Gets Patriots’ Super Bowl Ring in Mail

The California native got the surprise of a lifetime in 2019 when a shiny new Super Bowl ring showed up in his mailbox. Barner received the bling, along with a hand-signed letter from Robert Kraft, after the Patriots won Super Bowl LIII. That’s right, the same team he had upset as a member of the Eagles the previous year.

Turns out, the Patriots thought highly enough of Barner and his “contribution to this Super Bowl championship team” to include him in the victory celebration. He was signed and cut by New England that year on three different occasions and wound up playing in five games while rushing for 71 yards on 19 carries. In a twist ending, Barner gifted the ring to his dad as a Father’s Day present. What a story.

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