Nick Barnett, a former Fontana A.B. Miller High School football star, has signed with the Buffalo Bills after being released recently by the Green Bay Packers.
Barnett, 30, is hoping to make an immediate impact with the Bills as he enters his ninth year of playing inside linebacker in the NFL.
Barnett had been one of the key players in the Packers' defense after being drafted in the first round in 2003 out of Oregon State.
Barnett received a Super Bowl ring with Green Bay last season, but he did not get a chance to play after the first four games of the year because he suffered a wrist injury. Now he is enthusiastic about joining the Bills.
"The staff is remarkable," Barnett told Buffalobills.com. "It's like a family here. There are some great coaches with a lot of great history here. (General Manager) Buddy Nix has done a great job of picking up players. They lost a couple of games in overtime (last year) and were very close in a lot of games. All it takes is one play and putting those pieces together. Hopefully I'm one of those pieces."
Buffalo finished in last place in the AFC East last year with a 4-12 record.
Barnett has six 100-tackle seasons in his career in the NFL. His most productive season came in 2007, when he logged 102 solo tackles (131 total), 3.5 sacks and a pair of interceptions and was named a first alternate for the NFC Pro Bowl roster.
Barnett, who has nine interceptions in his career, said via Twitter had he was blessed to be a part of a great tradition at Green Bay for eight years. "I will always keep a special place in my heart for this team and city," he said.
Barnett will get a chance to return to his native Southern California on Dec. 11, when the Bills travel to San Diego to play the Chargers.