On Monday, Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr agreed to terms with the Jets. And then he didn’t.
Barr decided not to sign with the Jets, but instead to remain with the Vikings. He explained the decision on Thursday in a press conference.
“This is where my heart was,” Barr said. “This is where it’s always been. This is where it always will be.”
He said that he thought Monday would be a “fun day,” but that it then ended up being “one of the worst days of my life.”
“It was a crazy day,” Barr said. “I just followed my heart. I did what I wanted to do at the end of the day.”
He called the process “terrible,” explaining that he found himself in the middle of a “lot of drama” as he tried to make a decision about “his life.”
Barr explained that he gave the green light to accept the Jets’ offer to his agent, and that he immediately regretted the decision.
“It’s my life, I’ve got to live it,” Barr said. “Nobody else has to. I should be able to make the choice, whatever I want to do.”
He said he was trying to convince himself of something that, in his heart, didn’t feel right. “I was crying, laughing, sweating,” Barr said.
Coach Mike Zimmer had a major role in persuading Barr to stay, and that a “big reason” for the decision to stay was a result of Zimmer’s presence.
Barr emphasized that he never made any promises directly to the Jets, but to his agent. Still, that’s how the negotiating period works. Teams can talk to the player’s agent, but not to the player. And it’s important for the agent, when communicating the acceptance to the team, to be certain that the player will turn the verbal agreement into a written one.
The lesson for every agent is this: When the player says “yes,” another important question should be immediately asked.