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Pair of Former Charger Pro Bowlers Convinced Kenjon Barner to Join Bolts

One of the first questions any player is asked after signing a deal in free agency is why he wanted to join his new team.

Kenjon Barner doesn't even know where to begin answering that question.

On a personal note, the Los Angeles native is returning home to play in front of friends and family.  He even gets to play in the same neighborhood he grew up, as he spent his first 10 years in Carson, where the StubHub Center is located.

"Man, it's crazy!" he says with a chuckle. "My family is firm believer in everything coming full circle, and that is what this kind of is for me. I am going back to play in front of my family and be back where it all started. But really, this was all about business. This was a great move for me because opportunities with other teams weren't nearly as (impressive) as they are here."

As Barner notes, the personal benefits are an added bonus.  His decision to join the Bolts simply made too much sense from a football standpoint.

From the presence of Philip Rivers to the chance to play under noted running back guru Anthony Lynn, all signs pointed to Los Angeles. It also helps that a pair of former Charger running backs who played with Barner in Philadelphia fully encouraged him to don the lightning bolt.  

"Being with Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews in Philadelphia, we did a lot of talking and they both spoke extremely highly about coming here.  Especially to play with Philip. I told them there was a possibility of coming here or a few other places, and for them there was no choice. They didn't know what I was waiting for. Sproles was like, 'What are you doing? You know where you need to be!'"

Barner also needed to be with Head Coach Anthony Lynn. 

"I definitely (wanted to) play for him," he said as his eyes grew wide. "Knowing that I would have the opportunity to pick his brain was big.  And then when I met him for a brief second, listening to him talk I was like 'Damn, it is mind blowing how he sees things!'  How he views things and his take on things is impressive. It was mind blowing because I have had different running backs coaches and they have all been great, but he was just different.  He is completely different."

The 5-9, 195-pound Barner has appeared in 31 career games for the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles. The Oregon product carried the ball 61 times for 260 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per attempt with two touchdowns.  He's also proven capable catching the ball out of the backfield as well as a returner on special teams.

When evaluating options, the ability to impact the Chargers in all three areas also led to him putting pen to paper.

"They want me here for return purposes, but also a lot more than that. The more opportunities that I have here, the better.  And on special teams, being able to make an impact and change the momentum of a game is something that excites me. Having those guys in front of me that I know will go out and give their all for me as a returner, what more do you want?"

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