The Chargers’ 2015 Lineman of the Year, Joe Barksdale has started 31 of 32 games for the Bolts over the last two seasons.
Barksdale originally joined the Chargers in May 2015, agreeing to a one-year contract late in free agency. The former Oakland Raiders third-round draft pick exceeded expectations, playing 624 snaps, more than any player on the roster, including quarterback Philip Rivers. Barksdale not only played a lot, but he played on both sides of the line. He 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. After his outstanding season, the Chargers rewarded Barksdale with a four-year contract last March.
Barksdale was drafted by the Raiders in 2011. He played in all 16 games as a rookie before Oakland waived him early during his second season. He was then claimed by the Rams. Barksdale played sparingly for St. Louis 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 had ended, instead of re-signing with the Rams, Barksdale opted to test the waters of free agency, which ultimately led him 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.
In March 2015, Barksdale married his long-time girlfriend, Brionna Blackwell, who holds a master’s degree in public relations. They grew up in Detroit and have known each other since third grade. Last December, Joe and Brionna became first-time parents to a little girl, Kennedy.
Several years ago, Barksdale took up guitar and he has since become an accomplished blues musician. He wowed guests at their wedding when he knocked out a few tunes at the reception. In 2015, Barksdale visited the Fender guitar factory in Corona, Calif., and the visit was profiled on ESPN’s NFL Countdown prior to a Bolts’ Monday Night Football game against Chicago. 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. Barksdale has formed his band named “The Reapers.” This past year, the band hosted a weekly open jam session at a Southern California music establishment. Profits from the jam sessions helped support the Fender Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports music and education programs in schools.
Barksdale also supports the Boys & Girls Clubs. In December 2015 as part of National Day of Giving, Barksdale treated 50 children to a holiday shopping spree to purchase gifts for their families at a Southern California 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.
2017: Started 11 games at RT, missing five due to a foot injury…Blocked for QB Philip Rivers to reach 342 career passing TDs, tying Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton for sixth in NFL history…Provided time for Rivers to reach 50,000 career regular-season passing yards, finishing the season ranked ninth on the all-time passing yards list with 50,348…Allowed protection for Rivers to finish the year with 4,171 completions, good for seventh on the all-time completions list…Member of an offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL (18)…Saw action on 46 special teams plays...at Denver (Sept. 11): Started at RT, playing on all 59 offensive snaps…Part of a line that allowed one sack against a Denver defense that posted a league-high 94 sacks over the previous two seasons (2015-16)…Allowed time for QB Philip Rivers to throw for three TDs, the 49th game of his career with three-plus TD passes...vs. Miami (Sept. 17): Opened the game at RT, appearing on 41 plays on offense before departing with a foot injury…Protected QB Philip Rivers as he threw for 331 yards and a TD on 31-of-39 passing (110.6 passer rating)…Rivers’ 79.5 completion percentage was his highest since posting a percentage of 82.9 vs. Detroit to open the 2015 season (Sept. 13, 2015)…vs. Kansas City (Sept. 24): Inactive (foot)...vs. Philadelphia (Oct. 1): Returned to the starting lineup at RT after missing a game due to injury…It marked the 65th start of his career…Played 56 snaps on offense…Provided protection for QB Philip Rivers to complete 22-of-38 pass attempts for 347 yards and two TDs (105.9 passer rating), his second 300-yard performance of the season and 53rd of his career…at New York Giants (Oct. 8): Started at RT, appearing in 69 offensive plays…Helped block for RB Melvin Gordon to post 105 rushing yards on 20 attempts (5.3 avg.), and register 58 receiving yards and two TDs on a game-high six catches (9.7 avg.)…Part of a unit that did not allow a sack on the day, allowing QB Philip Rivers time to throw for 258 yards and three TDs, marking his second three-TD performance of the season and 50th of his career…Protected Rivers to surpass 47,000 career yards and move ahead of Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton to rank 10th for the most passing yards in league annals…at Oakland (Oct. 15): Started at RT, playing 51 offensive plays…It marked the 90th game played of his career…Opened holes for RB Melvin Gordon to post his second-consecutive game with 150-plus yards from scrimmage…On the first play from scrimmage, had a key block on DT Eddie Vanderdoes to spring Gordon free for a 13-yard gain…Part of a unit that allowed one sack, keeping QB Philip Rivers upright to complete 25-of-36 passes for 268 yards and a TD (100.2 passer rating)…It marked Rivers’ third game of the season with a passer rating above 100…vs. Denver (Oct. 22): Inactive (foot)…at Dallas (Nov. 23): Returned from injury to start at RT and play all 68 snaps on offense…Part of a line that allowed QB Philip Rivers to throw for 434 yards and three TDs on 27-of-33 passing (81.8 pct.) for a 149.1 passer rating…It marked the ninth 400-yard game, 54th 300-yard game and 51st three-TD game of Rivers’ career…The 149.1 passer rating ranked third in his career…On the first TD pass, provided Rivers time to move through his progressions to find TE Hunter Henry in the middle of the end zone matched up with S Byron Jones for a three-yard score…vs. Cleveland (Dec. 3): Played 67 snaps on offense after opening the contest at RT…Blocked for QB Philip Rivers to complete 31 passes on 43 attempts (72.1 pct.) for 344 yards and a TD (103.2 passer rating), marking the 55th 300-yard game of Rivers’ career…Protected Rivers to reach 3,000 yards on the year for the 12th consecutive season, which also brought his career total past 49,000…The victory gave Rivers 103 for his career, good for sole possession of 13th in league history, breaking a tie with Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon…vs. Washington (Dec. 10): Started at RT and played 63 snaps on offense…Provided protection for QB Philip Rivers to post the 104th victory of his career and pass Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon (49,324) for ninth in all-time passing yards…Blocked for Rivers to post 319 passing yards and two TDs on 18-of-31 passing (58.1 pct.) for a 114.9 passer rating, marking the 56th career game of 300-plus passing yards…at Kansas City (Dec. 16): Played 42 snaps on offense after opening the game at RT…Blocked for RB Melvin Gordon to post 78 rushing yards and a TD on 19 attempts (4.1 avg.) and six catches for 91 yards (15.2 avg.)…Gordon’s 169 yards from scrimmage were a season high and rank second in the running back’s career…at New York Jets (Dec. 24): Started at RT, playing all 73 snaps on offense…Provided time for QB Philip Rivers to pass Hall of Fame QB John Elway (4,123) for eighth on the all-time completions list, finishing 22-of-40 passing (55.0 pct.) for 290 yards and a TD (86.5 passer rating)…It marked Rivers’ ninth 4,000-yard season of his career, becoming the fourth player in NFL history to achieve 4,000 yards in nine-plus seasons (Peyton Manning with 14, Drew Brees with 12 and Tom Brady with nine)…Blocked for RB Melvin Gordon to post 81 rushing yards and a TD on 19 carries (4.3 avg.) and haul in three catches for 47 yards (15.7 avg.), allowing Gordon to surpass 1,000 rushing yards for the first season of his career…vs. Oakland (Dec. 31): Started at RT, appearing on all 70 offensive snaps…Protected QB Philip Rivers to throw for 387 yards and three TDs on 28-of-37 passing (75.7 pct.) for a 135.8 passer rating…It marked Rivers’ 57th 300-yard game and his 52nd three-TD game…Rivers’ three TD passes brought his career total to 342, tying Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton for sixth in NFL history…Provided time for Rivers to eclipse 50,000 career regular-season passing yards, making him the ninth player in league annals to do so…Blocked for RB Melvin Gordon to register 93 rushing yards on 17 attempts (5.5 avg.) and six catches for 31 receiving yards (5.2 avg.)…The rushing yardage pushed Gordon into seventh in Chargers history.
2016: Starting right tackle helped Chargers rush for 150-plus yards in Weeks 1 (155 at Kansas City) and 2 (150 yards vs. Jacksonville)...marked team’s first back-to-back 150-yard games since 2007 and first back-to-back 150-yard games to open season since 2006...started at right tackle Oct. 2 vs. New Orleans but shifted to left tackle when Chris Hairston was injured late second quarter...inactive Oct. 9 at Oakland (foot)...helped Chargers rush for a season-high 208 yards in 43-35 win over Tennessee Nov. 6...line also allowed just one sack in 34 dropbacks as Philip Rivers threw for 275 yards and two TDs...left Miami game Nov. 13 in fourth quarter with groin injury.
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.