ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Two former Colorado State University Rams, linebacker Shaquil Barrett and running back Kapri Bibbs, are just hoping to land a spot on the Denver Broncos roster. Both are undrafted free agents and somehow have to get noticed and make something happen in a short period of time.
Last year Bibbs shocked the college football world by scoring 31 touchdowns and rushing for more than 1,700 yards. The only person he didn’t shock was himself.
“When I came out of high school I told myself I was going to do three years of college and then I was going to the pros,” Bibbs said. “That’s how I felt and that’s what I worked every day for so I could achieve that goal.”
Barrett’s success wasn’t unexpected. He was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. But like Bibbs, he knows that he is starting over with the Broncos.
“I’m out here to earn my stripes just like everybody else. Some people have already earned them and I’m trying to be just like them,” Barrett said.
Bibbs and Barrett both face uphill battles to make the team, but they compete hard each and every day – sometimes against each other.
“I know him (Bibbs) coming out, he’s going to show what he can do out there like he did at CSU,” Barrett said.
“It’s competition when we’re out here, you know, and I don’t expect him to let up on me … if it’s me and him one-on-one because he has a family … he has to win, somebody has to lose,” Bibbs said.
Barrett is not an average 21-year-old. He’s married and the father of two. Somehow, even with school, football and family, he’s kept it all together.
“Even when he was in school, just going to school, waking up every morning, and then going home and taking care of your kids … and always have a smile on his face through it all … I’ve never seen this guy ever, ever have a frown or be sad,” Bibbs said. “I’ve never seen him put other people down or by mean to people. When you’ve got two kids running around the house I’m sure that can be frustrating sometimes.”
“I just don’t let the little stuff get to me,” Barrett said. “At a young age I realized the stuff I couldn’t control. As a kid I used to show my feeling all the time, but I just learned that that stuff just makes you stressed … I rarely get mad.”
Rams head coach Jim McElwain took in a Broncos practice this week. He believes Barrett has to earn his stripes on special teams.
“He’s a guy who was a great special teams player for us, never took a play off, and I think that that’s one of those things that can help him grow into the position of maybe playing linebacker and that type of thing on an everyday basis,” McElwain said.
McElwain also knows that nobody should ever doubt Bibbs.
“I would never bet against Kapri Bibbs. He’s a guy who has real, true confidence and great physical skills,” McElwain said. “As he grows into this position and the things that you have to do in the National Football League, he’s a guy who will work at it and work on his craft. So I certainly wouldn’t bet against him.”
Bibbs and Barrett are in a strange new world of the NFL, but at least for now they have each other. They’re really just a couple of young men trying to live their dreams and have fun doing it.
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