Barlow compares 49ers coach Nolan to Hitler in interview

Updated: August 23, 2006, 7:46 PM ET
Associated Press

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Jets running back Kevan Barlow apologized Wednesday to 49ers coach Mike Nolan for comparing him to Adolf Hitler in a newspaper interview.

Barlow, who was traded from San Francisco to New York on Sunday for a fourth-round pick, made his inflammatory comments to the Contra Costa Times. The often outspoken Barlow said after practice Wednesday he left a detailed message for Nolan.

"If I could take it back, I would," Barlow said. "I was very emotional. All I knew at the time was San Francisco, that was where I started my career, that's where my house was. It was a shock to me.

"I'm a passionate player, I'm an emotional guy when it comes to on the field and off the field. Sometimes it gets the best of us. I put it behind me, and I'm glad to be a Jet."

Barlow was upset with the trade because Nolan assured him earlier in the week he wouldn't be dealt. He told the newspaper Nolan was a "first-time head coach with too much power."

"He walks around with a chip on his shoulder, like he's a dictator, like he's Hitler," Barlow told the paper. "People are scared of him. If it ain't Nolan's way, it's the highway."

After making the comments, Barlow called back to say he didn't mean to make the comparison, blaming his outburst on his emotions.

"I was kind of harsh on him, saying he's a dictator. That's bad. Saddam Hussein is a dictator," Barlow told the paper. "I was speaking on emotion."

On Wednesday, Barlow said, "I tried to go back and take some things back from the reporter, but obviously he wanted to write a story. It was too late by then."

Barlow was never one to hold his tongue during his time in San Francisco. He had some spats with teammates and coaches, including a long-running feud with fullback Fred Beasley. The players quashed their fight last season.

"I enjoy Kevan. I think he's a good guy, a good kid, and I still feel that way," Nolan said. "He did a good job for us. I have no gripes with him, none at all. He was emotional and said what he said. It doesn't change my opinion of Kevan. He was a model citizen and did a great job while he was here."

Nolan also said he has no plans to directly discuss Barlow's comments with his team.

"No, because that makes it about me," Nolan said. "This isn't about me. If I had done or said something that I felt was wrong, I would tell the team and fess up. But that's not the case here. This is what Kevan said, and I'm not going to apologize for Kevan."

The Jets acquired Barlow to bolster their depth, with Curtis Martin on the physically-unable-to-perform list because of a knee injury. Barlow was told about the trade just before the 49ers left for their game against Oakland on Sunday.

He took a red-eye flight to New York and arrived Monday morning, passed his physical and practiced briefly. He was excused from practice Tuesday so he could catch up on sleep. But that didn't stop him from criticizing Nolan to the newspaper.

When Jets coach Eric Mangini found out about what Barlow said, he had a long talk with his new player.

"I thought his comments were inappropriate," Mangini said. "After he said it, he wished he could have those words back. But he can't. Kevan has already called coach Nolan to talk to him about that, which I think is important."

Because of character questions, many wondered why the Jets made the move earlier in the week. Barlow insisted Wednesday he is a "good character guy." Now he wants to put his days in San Francisco behind and focus on New York.

"I bleed green and white now," he said. "And I'm happy to be a Jet."


AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in San Francisco contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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