There are a multitude of spring football athletes who have put it all on the line to chase their dreams. Free agent QB Chris Barrett fits into that category, doing everything he can to earn himself an opportunity in the pro scene.
Barrett has been a part of several different teams, and has attended over 40 workouts over the past few years. Why does he keep at it so consistently? The answer is simple: Chris loves football. To fully understand where he’s at right now, one must start at the beginning of his journey.
Chris Barrett grew up in Philadelphia, and is no stranger to the game of football. It played a major role in his life growing up, and he found himself to be quite inspired by watching the Philadelphia Eagles.
“When I really fell in love with football was when I was 11. The Eagles were in the super bowl, and they lost to the Patriots. After seeing that, I said that I would be the next quarterback to win a super bowl for the Eagles. Of course, Nick Foles beat me to the punch on that one. But, that sparked a love for the game that grew over the years and turned into what it is today.”
Chris began his high school career at O&J Roberts, playing his first two years there in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He wasn’t able to get much playing time there, so he ultimately transferred to Valley Forge Military Academy who recruited him. There, he saw quite a bit of success, making a name for himself as a starting quarterback.
“In my first game, I threw four touchdown passes. That was my first ever start. I always had a natural affinity for playing quarterback, and that really kick started the confidence I had within myself that I could do this, and play at the next level. That sparked me to try and beat the odds. If I have a chance, I’ll take that chance no matter how small it is. Football is something I cared about a lot, and wanted to pursue full time.”
The Chaotic College Path
Chris Barrett began his college career at West Virginia Wesleyan, and stayed there for a couple of years. However, he never had the grip on the starting spot, due to the talent the school had at the position.
“I never really had the chance to start at West Virginia, as I was behind Jeremy Musselman. Then, my next year I was behind Nate Montana, who was Joe Montana’s son. I never got the opportunity to really show what I could do. Going into my junior year, they sat me down and told me that it wasn’t too realistic for me to play here, and that I should consider transferring.”
However, things would take a positive turn when he abruptly got a chance to start.
“Then, when I had one foot out the door, they all of a sudden decided to play me. I ended up doing very well against the #4 division II team in the country, Concord, and they started to give me some opportunities. After that, I ended up finding out that I was going to transfer to Thiel College. Unfortunately, I had to leave Thiel early for personal reasons, despite being set to be the starter.”
After a quick stint in Thiel, he transferred over to Alderson Broaddus. Barrett would be faced with another setback, since he jumped from a division III school to a division II school. College rules forced him to sit out a whole year. He did have a chance to play during a spring game, and did well.
“I was solid in the spring game. I had a dropped touchdown pass, and went 5/6 through the air. Since I was going to be a senior, they sat me down and said that they had three freshman quarterbacks who are on scholarship for the fall, and that they didn’t have a spot for me heading into fall camp. This led me to transfer back home to Ursinus, where I played wide receiver for 15 days before being moved to scout team quarterback. At that point, a lot of people thought my career was dead in the water.”
Because Chris Barrett didn’t have the “glorious” college career that other athletes have had, he could have easily stopped his football journey as a senior. However, this was not an option for Chris, who went all in on pursuing football full time.
Chris was able to keep playing by any means possible, having been a part of multiple organizations across several leagues. From 2017-2019, he got to play with a couple of NAL teams, including the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks and Reading Raptors.
“I really tried to capitalize on every opportunity I got, even through the hardships of being moved from place to place. Even as I transitioned from different levels, I focused on growing through each and every challenge. What I’ve learned through my experiences in each and every league is, like Mike Tyson says, you always have to play until you get punched in the mouth. Whether you’re in an outdoor league, or inside, you become more comfortable with reading defenses and trusting yourself to make the right decisions. Really had to pick up some of that on the fly especially in semi-pro. You’re not playing with guys that you’ve practiced with all week.”
Barrett was able to showcase some of his skill sets with the New Jersey Stags, where he led the league in almost every passing category. Chris threw for 1,481 yards (64% comp.), 19 touchdowns, and also added a score on the ground. He was statistically a top 3 leader in a conference with 30 quarterbacks.
Fan Controlled Football
Chris Barrett was then presented with an opportunity to play in Fan Controlled Football during their 2022 season. He had to push through some remarkable hurdles to see success, but fought through it all regardless.
“When I went into the FCF, I actually had COVID and was stuck in my room for 10 days. I thought I was going to get cut. When I finally got out, they automatically drafted me to the Bored Apes. I was the backup the first week of the season. Going into the second week, I wasn’t drafted by any team. I took a play out of James Harden’s playbook, and held up a sign during that week that had all my accomplishments on it, and said that I just wanted an opportunity to play.”
With the final game of week two coming up, and the Zappers on deck to play, Chris was running out of time to get himself on the field. However, a wild interaction with Johnny Manziel would completely change the direction of his FCF career.
“Johnny asked me, ‘why aren’t you dressed?’ And I told him that I wasn’t drafted to a team. Then he said that he was only going to play one series, and he went in and talked to the head coach for me, and then stitched my jersey within two minutes so I could play for the Zappers. So I was essentially the backup quarterback for the game since Manziel was only playing the first series. I ended up getting into the mix of things towards the end of the affair, and I did not have a great game to be honest. I ended up throwing two picks – I sailed a pass right over Terrell Owen’s head.”
Heading towards game day, Barrett was unsure about his status as a quarterback in the league. He was able to get voted into one of the weekly challenges that the FCF held, and performed quite well. This led to being drafted by the Glacier Boyz the next week.
“My job, as the backup, was to be ready in case the starter got hurt. I was pretty much getting him ready all week. We lost in week three to the Shoulda Been Stars, and it was a close one. Then, the very next week, our starter went down with a knee injury. There were only a couple minutes left in the game, and we were down 28-6. Because of the comeback rule, we got the ball back whenever we scored. I helped bring the team back to 28-20, and the only reason we lost that game was because myself and the receiver were not on the same page. But it was an opportunity to showcase what I could do, and I made the most of the moment.”
Chris Barrett had an outstanding game next week, when the Glacier Boyz destroyed the Beasts, who were the heavy favorites. This resulted in Chris being nominated for offensive player of the week. Currently, the FCF isn’t operating, but Barrett has been quite busy ever since.
Over the past couple of years, Chris Barrett has partaken in multiple HUB Football/GRID Camps events. These are workouts for free agents which are designed to put them in a position to sign with professional football teams, across several different leagues.
“The unique thing about GRID Camps is that – when you go to a typical showcase, it’s primarily an evaluation. You’re not getting a lot of coaching or feedback. What’s different about GRID, compared to the others, is that you’re getting bang out of your buck. You’re getting true coaching from every single one of those coaches, really good feedback, and the film that you need to show to teams that you’re ready to go. You also have the opportunity to network with so many quality coaches that are doing it at all different levels.”
Chris has attended a few Camps so far, and has been able to see some steady improvements from each and every one. In addition, he’s been able to get quality feedback from some of the same coaches who have also been featured at multiple events.
“Going to multiple GRID Camps events, I get to ask ‘what is different in comparison to what you’ve seen before?’ It’s an experience that you’re not really going to get at any other tryouts. They truly do care.”
In addition to competing at GRID Camps, Chris had the opportunity to throw at Rutgers’ pro days the past couple of years. This led to interest from several NFL teams, including the:
Philadelphia Eagles Las Vegas Raiders New York Jets Carolina Panthers Detroit Lions Tennessee Titans Jacksonville Jaguars
The Future Ahead
Right now, Chris Barrett is working in sales at Smartria, while continuing to pursue his football dreams. Despite all the ups and downs he’s faced, Barrett is focused on bettering himself in every aspect of his life.
“I look at every single experience as an opportunity to learn, and grow. I chase improvement. My sales manager David told me that ‘yeses are good, nos are even better, but it’s the maybes that kill you’. For me, as long as I have a direct answer of yes or no, I can always take that and try to improve on my game. It’s always going to be hard being told no, or being told that you’re not good enough. Over the years, I’ve let that bother me at times. Now, I’ve hit a certain age where I know that I can only control so much – and the only thing that truly does matter is personal growth. I want to play into my 40’s, because I know I can play that long, but I am always looking for ways to improve my game by any means necessary.”
Actions speak louder than words, and it’s clear that Chris has the drive, and passion, to play football at a high level.
“No matter how impossible it might seem, I’m always going to chase that goal no matter what. As long as I have that, there’s no reason for me to stop playing at any time. I’m ready. You name any type of adversity, I’ve been there. I know how to handle it. I’ve been homeless, I’ve lost close relationships – things that have taken a toll on my mental, physical, and emotional health. Through all of that, I’ve grown so much as a person. I’m calm, cool, and collected. I can adapt to any situation and I’m ready to show that to a professional organization.”
With some of the opportunities Chris Barrett has received over the past couple of years with the FCF and GRID Camps, the future is looking bright for the journeyman QB.
We are wishing Barrett the absolute best in his career moving forward, and hope to see him get signed by a team soon, whether it be in the USFL, XFL, or another league.
What are your thoughts on Chris Barrett’s journey so far? Did you watch him play in the FCF? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!