Ex-49er Barlow rips 'dictator' Nolan, team's direction

Updated: August 23, 2006, 11:44 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Kevan Barlow is now a New York Jet, but he isn't leaving his 49ers career behind quietly.

Barlow ripped his former coach Mike Nolan and the direction of the 49ers in a telephone interview with the Contra Costa Times.

"He has too much power as a first-time head coach. He walks around with a chip on his shoulder, like he's a dictator, like he's Hitler. People are scared of him. If it ain't [Mike] Nolan's way, it's the highway."
Kevan Barlow

"Nolan just doesn't know what he's doing. He's a first-time head coach with too much power," Barlow told the newspaper. "He has too much power as a first-time head coach. He walks around with a chip on his shoulder, like he's a dictator, like he's Hitler. People are scared of him. If it ain't Nolan's way, it's the highway."

Barlow also plays for a first-time coach with his new team, led by Eric Mangini.

Barlow tried to backtrack from the comments in a subsequent call to the Contra Costa Times.

"I was kind of harsh on him, saying he's a dictator. That's bad. Saddam Hussein is a dictator," Barlow told the Times. "I was speaking on emotion. ... My world's been [turned upside down] in the past [48] hours."

In the initial call to the newspaper, Barlow expressed anger at how the trade to New York went down, claiming that Nolan informed him of the trade 30 minutes before the 49ers headed to Oakland on Sunday for a preseason game.

"[Nolan] doesn't know about the 49ers way, and that's too bad because even his dad [Dick] was coach of the 49ers. Bill Walsh set the standard there, and he ain't living up to it."

 Kevan Barlow
Barlow

Barlow told the Times that Nolan has too much power in his first NFL head coaching job.

"Coach Nolan could be a good head coach, but he's not going to be because he has too much power.

"He calls all the shots. He needs somebody above his head. He doesn't know what he's doing. I respect [team owner John York] and everything he's done for me. He's made me successful. I'm still in my prime. You don't trade a guy like me."

Barlow told the newspaper he was speaking out because he still has friends on the 49ers.

"[Nolan] still is my problem because I've got friends on the team. Half my [former] teammates feel this way but can't say that. They feel the same way," Barlow told the Times. "You can't be yourself in there. Dudes are uptight and walking on eggshells. How are you supposed to go out and make plays the way you've always done?"

The Contra Costa Times reported that Barlow was read back all his initial quotes to check for accuracy with his agent on the line.

When contacted by the newspaper, Nolan expressed disappointment at Barlow's comments.

"It's unfortunate he feels that way," Nolan told the Times. "Personally, I feel Kevan is a good kid. When I came here I heard negative things about him and trouble in the locker room. When I was here, I thought he did the right things, like calling me if he was late or calling if he said the wrong thing to the media. As long as he was here, he was a model citizen."

ALSO SEE