This has not been the easiest NFL path for offensive lineman
A journeyman? Yeah, Barbre would fit that description. He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Packers in 2007 after playing collegiately at Missouri Southern State and stayed in Green Bay for three seasons, even starting seven games in 2009.
Then he suffered an injury and was released by the Packers, and the extreme uncertainty began. There was time split in 2010 between Seattle and Miami. In 2011 it was back to Seattle for four games. In 2012, there was no football at all for Barbre, who continued to work on his conditioning and had tryouts around the league, including the Eagles.
Now, Barbre has a three-year contract to stay in Philadelphia through 2017.
It's an amazing turnaround for a player who has spent years looking for some kind of foothold in the league.
"You could say it's the first time I've had some security in the NFL," said Barbre on Tuesday afternoon. "Knowing that the team wants me here for an extended period of time, that's a good feeling. Now it's just about continuing to work hard and improving. I feel like if you stop improving then you're not getting ahead, and you have to stay ahead to stay in this league."
Barbre has clicked with what offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and his staff are teaching. Barbre's ability to play both guard and tackle earned him a roster spot when the Eagles narrowed the roster to 53 players last September, and Barbre's fine performance replacing left tackle
It's his ability to play inside and outside, to have the strength and the quickness to handle both spots, that makes him such an attractive cog for an Eagles offensive line that is set with its five starters, but that is still looking for more depth in case help is needed in 2014.
"I think all of the things that I did naturally when I came in here connected with what Stout is teaching," said Barbre. "I paid attention and it worked. He's a great coach and the teaching the staff does brings out the best in players. It's worked for me and I'm really happy to be part of it."
This is not a move that gets the attention of a lot of fans, but it's the kind of move that can pay handsome dividends. Think about the process: The Eagles worked Barbre out in 2012, just to make sure they had a file on him. He wasn't a fit for that coaching staff in that tough season, but when the year ended and the Eagles lined up some players for "futures" contracts, Barbre was on the list. He signed on January 15, 2013, the day before the Eagles hired Chip Kelly as the new head coach.
Kelly then hired Stoutland, who had been part of Alabama's dominating offensive line unit in back-to-back BCS National Championship seasons. Stoutland wanted players who fit his vision: Players who had toughness, intelligence, passion and enough athletic ability to move around the line of scrimmage.
Barbre, then, came from nowhere in Training Camp and in the preseason last summer. He immediately stepped in and played excellent football in the preseason games. He earned his roster spot.
"Allen, to us, has really solidified his situation with us from a depth standpoint," head coach Chip Kelly said of Barbre during Training Camp last summer. "We knew he could play guard, but now to have a guy that's a guard-tackle guy. I think he's done a nice job."
And now he's earned a contract extension, providing the Eagles with some quality depth along the line of scrimmage.
"I'm excited to have the opportunity to play here and to extend my career here," said Barbre. "That's something I'm looking forward to. The Eagles reached out to my agent and we were able to work something out and get it done, and I couldn't be happier."