The Chargers’ 2015 Lineman of the Year, Joe Barksdale can unpack his bags and stay awhile after signing a new four-year contract with the team in March.
Barksdale originally joined the Chargers in May 2015, agreeing to a one-year contract late in free agency. To say Barksdale exceeded expectations would be an understatement. He wound up playing 624 snaps on the season, more than any player on the roster, including quarterback Philip Rivers. And Barksdale not only played a lot, but he played on both sides of the line. Barksdale started all 16 games at right tackle, but four times during the season he was forced to switch sides to play left tackle when injuries hit.
Barksdale originally came to the NFL as a third-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2011. He played in all 16 games as a rookie, primarily on special teams, but Oakland waived him early during his second season. The Rams claimed him. Barksdale played sparingly in 2012, but three weeks into the 2013 season, he was inserted into the starting lineup at right tackle and he remained there for 13 of the Rams’ final 14 games. In 2014, he started all 16 games at right tackle. After the year ended, instead of re-signing with the Rams, Barksdale opted to test the waters in free agency, which ultimately led to the Chargers.
Barksdale plays the game with a chip on his shoulder. That’s what happens when you go from a highly-touted free agent to nearly being out of the game just over a year later. As motivation, he keeps a list in his locker that features things he intends to work on each week and throughout the season at hand.
Barksdale’s career has been filled with several twists and turns that helped him get to where he is today. The Detroit native spurned offers from colleges all over the country to become the first-ever LSU football player to hail from the Wolverine State. He enrolled at LSU as a defensive tackle, but the Tigers had a defensive front loaded with All-Americans, so the coaching staff convinced him to move to the offensive line and the rest is history. Barksdale played on LSU’s national championship team as a freshman in 2007, and then he started three seasons at both left and right tackle, which ultimately led to being drafted by the Raiders in the third round.
In March 2015, Barksdale married his long-time girlfriend, Brionna Blackwell. She recently earned a master’s degree in public relations. They grew up in Detroit and have known each other since third grade.
Several years ago, Barksdale took up guitar and he has since become an accomplished blues musician. Barksdale wowed guests at their wedding when he knocked out a few tunes at the reception. Last November, Barksdale visited Fender Guitar’s factory in Corona, Calif., and the visit was profiled on ESPN’s NFL Countdown prior to the Bolts’ Nov. 9 Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears. The late Jimi Hendrix has long been one of Barksdale’s musical idols and the folks at Fender presented him with a brand-new Hendrix commemorative guitar that was just being released to add to his collection. In recent years, Barksdale played a number freestyle jam sessions and he’s in the process of organizing his own blues-rock trio.
Last December, Barksdale hosted a special holiday shopping event for some deserving youngsters from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego. As part of National Day of Giving, Barksdale treated 50 children to a holiday shopping spree to purchase gifts for their families at a JCPenney store.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Third-round pick by Oakland (92), April 29, 2011...signed July 31...waived Sept. 26, 2012...claimed by St. Louis, Sept. 27...contract expired, March 10, 2015...signed with Chargers, May 19...signed new four-year contract with Chargers, March 8, 2016.
2015: Chargers Lineman of Year...helped Chargers pass for 404 yards in 33-28 win over Detroit in Sept. 13 as line allowed just two sacks in 44 dropbacks...slid from right to left tackle late Sept. 27 at Minnesota when King Dunlap left game with concussion...team captain Sept. 27 vs. Vikings...starting right tackle in 30-27 win over Cleveland Oct. 4 as Bolts passed for 358 yards and three touchdowns, while line surrendered just two sacks...team won game on 34-yard field goal with no time left on clock...team captain Oct. 12 vs. Pittsburgh...started vs. Steelers at right tackle, but shifted to left tackle when Chris Hairston left game with ankle injury...played entire game at right tackle Oct. 18 at Green Bay as Philip Rivers set franchise records for attempts, completions and yards...saw action at both left and right tackle Nov. 1 at Baltimore as injuries forced re-shuffling of offensive line...left Kansas City game Nov. 22 late in third quarter with hip injury and did not return...played all 71 snaps at right tackle of 31-25 win at Jacksonville Nov. 29...line allowed just two sacks in 45 total dropbacks while Philip Rivers passed for 300 yards and four touchdowns...left Denver game early Dec. 6 due to back injury...Dec. 20 vs. Miami, helped team rush for season-high 140 yards, while line allowed just one sack in 37 passing plays as Philip Rivers threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns...started Dec. 24 at Oakland at right tackle and briefly shifted to left tackle at start of third quarter after Hairston left game due to abdominal injury...left Denver game Jan. 3 briefly in fourth quarter with ankle injury.
2014: Started every game at right tackle...part of line that did not allow any sacks in 28-26 win over defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks Oct. 16...helped block for season-high 172 yards rushing in 52-0 win over Oakland Nov. 30.
2013: Took over at right tackle for injured Rodger Saffold Sept. 15 at Atlanta...quarterback Sam Bradford threw for 352 yards vs. Falcons, second-highest total of career...moved into starting lineup at right tackle Sept. 22 vs. Dallas...Nov. 24 vs. Chicago, part of line that allowed three rookie rushers to rack up 261 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns in 42-21 win...played but did not start Dec. 8 at Arizona.
2012: Inactive for first three games with Oakland...started at left tackle for Rams Oct. 21 vs. Green Bay and Oct. 28 vs. New England.
2011: Saw action in all 11 games primarily on special teams and as extra tackle in six-lineman sets...NFL debut in 23-20 ESPN Monday Night Football win over Denver Sept. 12.
COLLEGE: Second-team All-SEC as senior...2010 SEC Lineman of Week after performance vs. Ole Miss...started final 39 games to close out career and played in 53 total...started 26 games at right tackle and 13 at left tackle...played in all 14 games for BCS national championship team as true freshman in 2007...member of Omega Psi Phi...played at LSU from 2007-10...general studies major.
PERSONAL: Born in Detroit, Michigan...All-America at Cass Tech High School in Detroit...invited to play in U.S. Army All-America Bowl following senior season...named to Detroit News’ “Dream Team” as senior...all-city selection as junior...recipient of 2007 Watkins Award, presented by National Alliance of African-American athletes.