Barney finished his college career at Jackson State University with three all Southwestern conference honors and 26 career interceptions. He was drafted in 1967 in the second round by the Detroit Lions and named 1967's defensive rookie of the year. He finished his career by being selected to seven Pro Bowls, and finished his career with 56 career interceptions. He also gained over 1,000 yards returning kickoffs and punts. In Barney's first pro start, he intercepted the first pass in his direction from Green Bay's Bart Starr and ran for a touchdown.