Exclusive: Kenjon Barner Talks Receiving Super Bowl Ring, Surprising His Father
Photo Credit: Kenjon Barner
Weeks before the New England Patriots received their Super Bowl rings, running back Kenjon Barner’s phone rang with surprising news.
“I got a call from them probably about two months ago and they were like, ‘Hey, is there anyway you can get us your ring size by this weekend,’ and I’m like, ‘Huh, what do you mean?'” Barner told Prime Time Sports Talk. “They told me, ‘We just found out from coach that you’re getting a ring, he wants to give you a ring.’ So that was extremely unexpected because I didn’t finish the year with them, I was I was humbled, but that is just the representation of the type of people who are over there.”
According to NFL rules, the league only provides funding for 150 rings. Owner Robert Kraft ordered 231.
Though released three times by the team, the ring came and there was only one person he was going to give it too.
“I give my dad everything,” Barner said. “Anything that’s sports related I give to my dad and the reason being is my dad has been there every single day.”
When it came to everything he did as a child – games and practices – his dad was leading the fan section.
“When I was a child, I never had to look for my dad, I never had to wonder where my dad was, because he was at every practice and every game,” Barner said. “And when I say everything, my dad was there, never missed anything.”
It is their faith in God that they believe was able to keep them together as he made his journey to the NFL.
“He would always tell me as a kid growing up, ‘God always makes a way for me to be there for you,’ and it’s the truest statement I have ever heard because I had seen it,” Barner said. “My dad has never missed a practice or game from Junior All-American to high school through college.”
Because he has moved from place to place, his father has not been able to go to every single NFL game. But he was always watching. It was a part of a deal they made when Barner was very young.
“We’ve had a pact since I was a kid and that was, ‘What’s mine is his and what’s his is mine,'” Barner said. “As long as I do my part, he’ll do his and my part was to take care of school and take care of things athletically, his part was to be a good dad, show me what I needed to learn, be there for me, be my friend, be my father, and he’s done that, I truly believe I have the greatest dad on this Earth.”
He has gone as far as saying this NFL journey has brought more joy to his father than he.
“My dad enjoys this more than I ever could,” Barner said. “It sounds funny but that’s the truth, my dad is so proud, he’s so happy and I’m happy that I can provide that for my dad, for him to walk around with his chest up and his head held high talking about his son.”
It is something he believes all kids should want for the ones who are there with them through it all.
“I think any child should want to give their parents that type of feeling whatever it is not just sports but just life in general,” Barner said. “Whether it’s through education, getting a degree, whatever job you have, but I like to make my family proud and if it wasn’t for my dad, I wouldn’t have the stuff that I have.”
It is because of this that Barner is always making a point to always give back.
“I try to give everything away,” Barner said. “Because for me, I’m living this, but the things that I have and the things I gained through different accomplishments, I always feel it could do more for other people than it could do for me, so I’m always giving jerseys away, gloves, whatever it is, pictures, if I can sneak it away from my dad and give it away then I would.”
Barner has done it all. He has played on the sport’s biggest stage and has two Super Bowl rings. But his father is all the motivation he needs to keep putting on the shoulder pads and buckling the chin strap.
“Knowing how much my dad enjoys this, he is the huge reason I continue to do what I do. “Because I know how happy it makes him, I know how proud it makes him, I know the smile that it puts on his face.”
The feeling is like no other for Barner.
“The feeling I get making my dad smile, making my dad cry, as much as I talk smack about making him cry and stuff, I know what I do gives my dad great satisfaction and happiness,” Barner said. “And my parents, my brothers, and sister have sacrificed so much for me to be where I’m at and I think it’s only right to return the favor through what I do.”