EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

August 7, 2011

These two additions are true Patriots

The same day the New England Patriots shocked the world by acquiring bad boy Albert Haynesworth and big mouth Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson, they acquired two other players where the word "bad" is last adjective you'd use to describe them.

Their names are Tyree Barnes and Eric Kettani.

Don't feel bad. I had never heard of them either.

The Patriots signed the duo in 2009 as undrafted free agents. So why are we still dealing with these no-names two years later?

They graduated from the Naval Academy — Barnes was a wideout and Kettani a running back — and then had to complete two more years of service.

The Patriots' ties to the Naval Academy and Annapolis, Md., are well documented. Bill Belichick grew up in Annapolis as his dad, Steve Belichick, was a long-time coach and scout at Navy.

Although Belichick has an affinity for the discipline at Navy, this was not about favors or relationships. The Patriots apparently like both of these young men.

"I've met Bill a few times, but we don't talk hardly at all," said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. "The Patriots had been following Tyree and Eric. They liked what they saw ... I can't blame them. These are two special guys who will not cause one problem."

Basically, Barnes and Kettani are the anti-Haynesworth and anti-Ochocinco.

Let's take a look at both of the newcomers.

Barnes is a wide receiver and started for most of his four years. He led the Middies in receiving with 20 catches in 2008.

While it doesn't sound like a lot, considering the fact that Navy only threw the ball slightly over seven times a game, that's gargantuan.

And he did average 20.0 yards per catch his senior season.

"He's one of the best athletes and the most gifted wide receivers I've seen since I've been here at Navy, said Niumatalolo, who has spent 14 years at the school, the last five seasons as head coach. "Obviously, we don't throw the ball a lot. But he competes every play as if he's going to get the ball or by blocking.

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