Kenjon Barner had an up-and-down season in 2018. Despite coming off a Super Bowl win with the Philadelphia Eagles, he experienced a slow free agency period before joining the Carolina Panthers in early May. Barner failed to make the team, however, and was released again during roster cutdowns. Two weeks later, the New England Patriots picked the veteran running back up after losing Rex Burkhead to injured reserve temporarily.
His role with the Patriots was not particularly noteworthy: Barner served as a depth running back behind Sony Michel (and at times even Cordarrelle Patterson), and as such was on the field for just 42 offensive snaps over a five-game span. Barner carried the football 19 times for a combined 71 yards in this role, and actually made more headlines because of his roster status than his actual on-field contributions.
After all, he was released three times over his two months in New England. The final cut, coming on November 13, ended his tenure with the Patriots as the Carolina Panthers claimed him off the waiver wire the very next day. Barner, who now plays for the Atlanta Falcons, finished his 2018 campaign on Carolina’s injured reserve because of a knee ailment. In the meantime, the Patriots went on to lock down a first-round playoff bye and ultimately went on to win the Super Bowl.
The organization did not forget about Barner, though. While he did not participate in the team’s Super Bowl run or the celebration earlier this month, it did send him a championship ring via mail:
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Just want to send out a huge thank you to everyone at the @patriots organization again for the opportunity that was given! Wasn’t expecting this when I got the call and still wasn’t expecting it when the ring was In My hands! Thank you Thank you Thank you, God is good! #Back2Back #2X
Barner did not expect to receive a Super Bowl ring from the Patriots, according to an Instagram post, but he put it to good use: the 29-year-old gave it to his dad as a Father’s Day gift. Needless to say that the gesture was quite a surprise for Barner’s father — one the son filmed and shared via social media on Thursday:
“This means more to me than anything, being able to see the happiness that this stuff brings my Dad means the world to me! This why I do what I do, the joy that my family gets from this game I play, is my why!” wrote Barner in the caption accompanying his video. Even though the running back’s tenure in New England was but a short one, it did leave a lasting impact on him and his family.