Linebacker Anthony Barr may be new to the Dallas Cowboys but is no stranger to Head Coach Mike McCarthy. They know each other well from their days in the NFC North, and especially from an incident that had McCarthy criticizing Barr publicly.
Barr has been with the Minnesota Vikings for the last eight years. From his rookie season until December of 2018, McCarthy was coach of the rival Green Bay Packers. With their two teams duking it out twice a year and Barr going to four Pro Bowls during that time, McCarthy is quite familiar with what the linebacker can do.
In fact, one of Anthony's more infamous plays led to public criticism from his new head coach. During the 2017 season, Barr hit Packers QB Aaron Rodgers immediately after a throw and drove him to the ground. The hit broke Rodgers' collarbone and knocked him out for two months,
McCarthy called Barr out in the aftermath, accusing him of an illegal hit on his starting quarterback. But many in the football community rejected that notion and said it was just an unfortunate result to a legitimate play.
Green Bay went 3-5 during Rodgers' absence and finished the season with a 7-9 record. You could make the case that Barr's hit knocked the Packers out of the playoffs in 2017, and perhaps helped set the stage for McCarthy's dismissal the following year.
Nevertheless, Anthony Barr is now the newest arrival to the Dallas Cowboys roster. Mike McCarthy must have gotten over the incident or is at least willing to swallow any resentment in the hopes of his current team benefitting from Barr's talent.
The last two years haven't been kind for Anthony, missing 14 games in 2020 with a torn pectoral and six games last season with knee and ankle issues. But Barr was still an impact player when on the field, posting three interceptions, 2.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries for Minnesota.
Hopefully, Barr and McCarthy help each other enjoy renewed success with the Cowboys in 2022.