Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

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Gophers WR A.J. Barker says he is quitting team and will look to transfer

Posted by: Phil Miller under Gophers injuries Updated: November 18, 2012 - 8:04 PM

Gophers wide receiver A.J. Barker said via Twitter Sunday afternoon that he is quitting the team and will seek to transfer for his final season.

His tweet read: "Well, its official. I am done playing football for the University of Minnesota and I will be looking to transfer next season for my final yr."

He also created a Tumblr page where he published what he says was a letter he sent to head coach Jerry Kill, explaining why he is quitting. That letter -- which is more than 4,000 words long and contains some strong language -- has some harsh words for the head coach. It alludes to an apparent confrontation earlier this week. Barker, who has missed the past three games with a high ankle sprain, is still the team leader with 30 catches for 577 yards and seven TDs.

He wrote in the letter: "In light of that pathetic, manipulative display of rage and love you put on this past Thursday, I have come to the decision, with the guidance of my parents and my closest friends, that my time on this team has come to an end. It kills me that I have to do this before the season’s over, but this is the only way I can protect myself against the manipulation and abuse I’d have to endure from you the rest of this season."

UPDATE: Athletic director Norwood Teague on Sunday night issued a statement regarding Barker's departure that read: "Coach Kill received an email from A.J. Barker today notifying the Coach that he has quit the team. Coach Kill tried reaching out to A.J. after receiving the email, but was unable to connect with him. We understand A.J.'s frustration with his injury, and we regret that he has chosen to leave the team on these terms. Our concern first and foremost is student athletes and we wish A.J. well."

 

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