Roosevelt Barnes was a three-sport superstar in Fort Wayne and played for the NFL's Detroit Lions.
About a decade before Deion Sanders thought of being a two-sport star, Fort Wayne's Roosevelt Barnes was a three-sport star. After playing basketball for four years and baseball for one season at Purdue University, Barnes decided to stay a fifth year and play on the football team as a linebacker and defensive back.
"When I got out of high school, I never thought I'd play football again," Barnes said in 1984. "It's something I never dreamed would happen."
Barnes was good enough that he started for the Boilermakers, making 32 tackles, and was drafted in the 10th round by the Detroit Lions. He played four years with the Lions on special teams, twice being voted the most valuable special teams player. His best season came in 1983 when he had 35 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
In 1986, he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts but was cut during training camp. Eventually, Barnes returned to Fort Wayne to become a sports agent.
Barnes' athletic career thrived in Fort Wayne. At Wayne High School, Barnes dominated in football, basketball and baseball, becoming the first athlete to earn All-Summit Athletic Conference honors in three sports. As a senior in 1976-77, he scored 116 points on the football field and 444 on the basketball court as a guard and forward. He finished his high school basketball career with 1,300 points, 439 assists and a scholarship to Purdue.
Primarily as a backup guard, Barnes helped the Boilermakers to the NCAA Final Four in 1980, and to the NIT Final Four in 1979 and 1981. He also played baseball for one season at Purdue.
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