By Courtney CroninESPN Staff Writer
EAGAN, Minn. -- The player nicknamed the “Hit Man” rarely gets emotional.
As Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith reflected on linebacker Anthony Barr’s decision to turn down millions with the New York Jets to return to Minnesota in free agency, his voice drew quiet while he relayed just how deeply moved he was by the decision of his long-time teammate.
“I was pretty pumped about it. A guy making a choice like that, it was pretty big,” Smith said, choking up momentarily. “It doesn’t happen a lot in pro sports, even if it’s a couple million dollars, which means different things to different people. For him, it meant staying here.”
What Barr did struck a chord with Smith, who is more than just his locker mate and someone he’s shared a field with since Barr was drafted in 2014.
“He’s one of my best friends,” Smith said. “Honestly, I wanted him to go get as much money as he could make. Pro sports, it’s how things happen. I obviously wanted him here as well. So I wasn’t going to be upset one way or the other. It’s an emotional game and you make friendships and you make plays together and you’re pumped for the guy next to you. It’s why I...