Gary Michael Barnidge (born September 22, 1985) is an American football tight end who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft . He played college football at Louisville . He has also played for Cleveland Browns .

College career

Barnidge played college football at Louisville from 2004 to 2007. He played in 48 games, including 29 starts and recorded 108 receptions for 1,491 yards and 17 touchdowns. He majored in sports administration.

Professional career

Carolina Panthers

Barnidge was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round (141st overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft .

With the Panthers, Barnidge's main impact came on special-teams, in 2010, he led the team with 17 special-teams tackles. [2] He would miss the whole 2011 NFL season with a broken ankle suffered in a preseason practice. In 2012, Barnidge recorded his first professional touchdown reception against the Philadelphia Eagles on a 24-yard pass from Cam Newton .

Cleveland Browns

On March 14, 2013, Barnidge was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an unrestricted free agent . [3] During the 2015 season, Barnidge had a breakout year and finished with 79 receptions for 1,043 receiving yards and nine touchdowns (he had 44 receptions, 603 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in his previous seven seasons combined). His nine touchdowns tied Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome 's franchise record set in 1979 and ranked No. 4 among all NFL tight ends in 2015. [12] He was voted the best player on the Browns. [4] On December 10, 2015, Barnidge was signed to a 3-year extension worth around $12 million. [5] After the 2015 season, Barnidge made his first Pro Bowl , being voted as an alternate. He was ranked 94th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016 . [13]

On June 2, 2016, Barnidge underwent a sports hernia surgery. [6] He started all 16 games in 2016, catching 55 passes for 612 yards and two touchdowns.

On April 28, 2017, Barnidge was released by the Browns. [14]

Personal life

In 2011, Barnidge, along with friend and Louisville Cardinal teammate Breno Giacomini , then of the Seattle Seahawks , started a not-for-profit organization called American Football without Barriers. The organization hosted its first camp in China in March 2013.

Barnidge has appeared on two episodes of Total Divas , an E! Network TV show about WWE Divas going on dates with Rosa Mendes and Summer Rae . [2] He also appeared on an episode of Impact Wrestling in 2017, assisting fellow NFL player DeAngelo Williams . [2]