Gopher Head Coach Jerry Kill
MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill met with reporters Monday to discuss the furor over the letter posted on social media by wide receiver A.J. Barker, who quit the team in anger Sunday night.
In his multi-page, 4,000-plus word essay, Barker says he was psychologically abused by Kill and feels that the coach manipulated and lied to him.
Kill says issues between the two may have come to a head following a confrontation he witnessed Thursday during practice, when Barker was embroiled in a heated exchange with a team trainer. The coach intervened, telling Barker that a player does not use that tone of voice or attitude with an adult or someone in a position of authority.
"Usually I kind of let those things go because I'm busy, but it got loud so I called A.J. over and let him know I wasn't very happy," Kill explained.
"I've said all along, I don't treat our players any differently than I treat my two daughters. When I need to be tough on my two daughters I'm tough on my two daughters. I talked to my oldest last night, and I'll tell ya, they didn't turn out too bad."
The coach told reporters he wants to speak with Barker but hasn't been able to reach him. Kill maintains that his relationships with players is one of his strengths and says he has spent lots of time with Barker since joining the Gophers as head coach. Kill says he believes the situation (quitting the team) is one Barker will regret one day.
"I feel bad, but we have to move on," Kill said.
Barker accuses coach Kill of forcing him to practice on a badly injured ankle and then yelling at him about his treatment of that ankle. Kill says Barker and the training staff were not on the same page and the communication breakdown may have caused the situation to fester.
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