Earlier on in this 2019-2020 Indoor Football League off-season, an article detailing a new signee to the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers was circulating through Facebook.
Linebacker Kahzin Daniels had been promoted to the team’s active roster after serving time on their practice squad this year.
It wasn’t just a normal story about a kid getting his shot, though. Daniels, like the IFL’s Cody Barber is blind in one of his eyes.
“I thought it was pretty sweet,” Barber said. “To see someone with the disadvantage [that I have] to come from something like that to make it to the top of the sport, that’s pretty cool. I wish him the best.”
Seeing the story gave Barber a level of inspiration to continue to improve his game ahead of the 2020 IFL season.
Even though this is big break for a player with a disadvantage like Barber’s, he doesn’t let it hinder him.
Not to mention, he’s never kicked a football in his life with two good eyes.
“You’re used to it,” Barber said. “I’ve probably kicked the ball a million times, none of them have been with two eyes, ever. I just got used to it and got into the mindset where I wasn’t going to use it as an excuse or anything like that. “
He kept on working at it, eventually kicking in college and onto the IFL.
However, next to his school listed on any roster he’s on, he will write, “Cody Barber, Coolidge HS (Arizona).” It’s where he got his start to his career and still resides in the off-season today.
“I made a decision where I was to just going to keep working and getting better,” Barber said. “That’s how I went about it.”
The Arizona native will spend his 2020 season with the Bismarck Bucks and head coach Rod Miller.
Barber elected to stick with the team after playing for them a year ago, because of Miller.
“That’s my man,” Barber said. “He’s a good dude, there’s no shady stuff with him. He keeps it straight forward and honest. He knows a lot about the game.”
Miller’s coached with a plethora of indoor football teams from the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul to the Bloomington Edge – where Barber and him were first acquainted.
Miller was the offensive coordinator there and the pair kept in touch ever since.
Barber thinks that it has set up the Bucks to be successful this season.
“A lot of people aren’t expecting us to do much of anything this year, but I think we’re going to turn a lot of heads,” Barber said. “We’ve been making some good moves especially on the offensive and defensive lines [and] we have our quarterback back.”
The Bucks re-signed Tasleem Wilson to lead the offense along with offensive lineman Ken Van Heule and defensive lineman LaTreze Mushatt.
That’s the kind of move that pays out well in the IFL.
“If you have [consistent players] at those positions, you’ll do well in the IFL,” Barber said. “I think we’ve attacked all three of those aspects of the game so far.”
Those aren’t the only notable players signing with the team, and not even the only notable ones at those positions, though they will be of great help.
Van Heule, for instance, brings championship experience to the team and was a former teammate of Barber’s at Iowa.
“Ken is going to be the anchor to that offensive line and we needed him there,” Barber said. “Every team he’s been on, he has produced. He’s won championships. He’s really good.”
The Bucks finished their 2019 campaign with a 2-12 record.
It left a sour taste in Barber’s mouth to give him that much more motivation for next season.
“I definitely think we could have won more games,” Barber said. “There’s definitely a sour taste in my mouth. I don’t know if everyone bought in to Coach Miller all that well. You could see it in their play. I know this year, with the guys Coach Miller is bringing in, they’re going to buy in and believe in him.”
Barber thinks that buying in is where the success will start, and if the 2020 Bucks can do that, they just might surprise some people.
“I’m always going to ride with him and I’m always going to believe in him,” Cody Barber said. “If we can get everyone [on board] with that, we’ll be pretty damn good.”