Minnesota Gophers WR A.J Barker, a junior walk-on who is the Gophers leading receiver, has quit the team, effective immediately.
In a long, open letter he posted on Tumblr, Barker discussed what lead to him leaving--head coach Jerry Kill's alleged manipulative treatment as Barker is attempting to rehab an ankle he injured a few weeks back, and a disagreement between him and the team over the severity of the injury.
In leaving the team Barker is doing what he feels best for him and his football career. I'm not sure I'm on board with how he did it, though, and I'm sure there are two sides to this story, although Barker paints a damning picture of Kill, one that is a 180 degree turn from his 'aw shucks' persona that he has in the press.
Is it 100% accurate? I'm sure there are two sides to the story, and like most cases, the truth lies somewhere in between. I will say, every coach I ever played for yelled and cussed the team out, and used motivational tactics not unlike Kill. I never felt threatened, but then again, I never played past high school, either. Each situation is unique, and it will be interesting to see what the University, Kill, and current and former players will say, if anything.
And speaking of that, neither the University of Minnesota or Jerry Kill have responded, and I'm sure this is the last thing the Gophers want to deal with heading into their regular season finale against Michigan State. They will also have to figure out a way to replace Barker's production on the field. Even though he's missed the last three games, he's still the Gophers leading receiver, amassing 30 catches for 577 yards, and 7 TD's.