NFL: 25 Most Surprising Pro Bowl Picks This Century: 4. 2016 Gary Barnidge
Another tight end taking advantage of the status of tight ends is Gary Barnidge in the 2015 season. He was an up-and-coming player for the Cleveland Browns who just never came. He had eight seasons where he failed to break 300 yards on the season, then out of nowhere, he broke 1,000 yards with the Browns. Teams were giving him chances until he was 30 years old, and it finally paid off.
This was a bad Browns team. They won three games with Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel under center. The team was brutal in the AFC North, and they really didn’t have anyone to throw to outside of Barnidge. The Browns had Travis Benjamin, Terrell Pryor (for just a few games), and Brian Hartline playing receiver. It didn’t help that the quarterback position was an abject mess, but the receiving core wasn’t the 2007 Patriots, either.
Barnidge would play one more season in the NFL before retiring. His receiving numbers dropped to just under 700 yards, which is still a lot better than he was doing before his breakout season. Instead of holding on for another NFL chance, Barnidge just decided to walk away from it all.
He’s kept busy outside of the football field. He appeared on reality shows like Total Divas and the Amazing Race. He’s appeared in professional wrestling alongside DeAngelo Williams. Barnidge is a man of many hats