A Texas boy, Joe Barnes was born in Forth Worth and played his college football at Texas Tech before being drafted in the 13th round of the 1974 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears. Barnes dressed for two games with the Bears, and then signed with Montreal in 1976 where he teamed up with veteran Sonny Wade at QB. Barnes played four and a half seasons with Montreal (1976-80),. His best season with the Als was in 1979 with 305 pass attempts, a 53.4% completion percentage and 2456 yards passing. Barnes played in three Grey Cups with Montreal, a win in 1977 over Edmonton and two losess in 1978 and 1979 to the same Eskimos.
Barnes was traded to Saskatchewan partway through the 1980 season for DB Al Chorney. After one full year with Saskatchewan in 1981 where he threw for 2130 yards. The Riders traded Barnes to Toronto in May of 1982 for CB Marcellus Greene. Barnes played three years in Toronto, putting up his best year personally in 1984 with 3128 yards and a 61.1% completoin percentage to capture East All-Star honours at QB. Barnes's beast seas, however, from a team perspective was 1983 when the Argo won a Grey Cup thanks to a late pass from Barnes to Cedric Minter. It was the first Argo Grey Cup victory since 1952.
In January of 1985, the Argos traded Barnes to Calgary for DE Walter Ballard, OL Jeff Inglis and a second round draft pick. Barnes played 11 games for the Stampeders in 1985 and was close to matching his career highs when he was traded to Montreal for his second stint there for wR Spencer Jackson. Barnes played one more season with Montreal in 1986, appearing in just 7 games.
After retiring as a player, Joe Barnes returned to the CFL in 1994 as the quarterbacks coach with the new expansoin Baltimore team. Joe Barnes is a member of the Texas Tech hall of Fame.
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