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Nicholas Alexander Barnett (born May 27, 1981 in Barstow, California) is an American Football linebacker who currently plays for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. The Packers drafted him out of Oregon State University in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft with the 29th overall selection.
Many consider Barnett to be a strong and consistent football player. He is in his fourth year in the league. Barnett and his defensive teammates have not had a steady defensive coordinator for more than four years. The Packers recently hired Bob Sanders as their fourth defensive coordinator in as many years. Despite instability in the coaching staff, Barnett and the other Packers linebackers have established themselves as some of the better linebackers in the league. Barnett has anchored the young linebacking corps ever since his rookie year in 2003, and has been the starting middle linebacker of the Green Bay Packers from Day 1 of his NFL career.
On April 10, 2007, Barnett signed a six year contract extension worth $34.85 million, after extended negotiations with Packers management.
Business Ventures and Minor Legal Troubles
Nick Barnett owns a local bar in Green Bay, Wisconsin called the FiveSix Ultra lounge (so named because of his number with the Packers, 56). The Green Bay city council decided not to renew Barnett's liquor permit. Weeks later, he was given a written warning for jaywalking during an interview with reporters. The reporters, however, were not issued warnings. The written warning was later terminated and FiveSix's liquor permit was renewed.
Early in the morning on Sunday, June 17, Nick Barnett was arrested for battery after an altercation at the Wet Nightclub in Appleton, Wisconsin. According to witnesses, Barnett shoved a woman inside of the nightclub and was later seen in a heated argument with another patron of the nightclub. Some witnesses said that the owner of the nightclub was assaulted, but she steadfastly denied this. Barnett was released from jail after he posted a $500 bond, and he attended the preliminary stages of Brett Favre's charity softball tournament later that day. However, he left before the actual event started. The bar's owner later said that the whole incident had been blown out of proportion and that Barnett had been provoked by female fans who were anxiously seeking autographs. According to the bar owner and several bartenders, Barnett and other Packers players were at the bar when these fans entered, interrupting the players and hoping for autographs. When many of the players, including Barnett, declined to sign the autographs, one of the fans threw a drink at Nick Barnett's face. It was then that Barnett shoved the woman away and she fell to the ground.
Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy had expressed concern that Nick Barnett may have been suspended for at least some of the upcoming season, especially in light of Commissioner Roger Goodell's tough stance on poor conduct off the field. After hearing the new account of the events that landed Barnett in jail, McCarthy said, "...There's two sides to every story. I've listened to his side and we'll let the process take its course."
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