EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Saquon Barkley believes he’s spent most of the season discussing everyone’s expectations for him after major knee surgery.
The questions never stopped. Was recovering from an ACL injury more difficult than expected? Will you become one of the best running backs in the NFL again? Why are you gaining fewer yards than expected?
With three games to go in the season, Barkley apparently wants to silence the noise with the Giants (4-10) preparing to face rival Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) on Sunday.
“The only thing that really matters is my thought process, you know what I’m talking about? Barkley said after practice Thursday. “I have to go out there and control what I can control. I say football is an 11 player sport. It’s the best team sport in the world, but I have to go there and control what I can control.
The former Penn State star carried 115 times for 429 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 37 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns. In his rookie season in 2018, the former Penn State star ran for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 91 passes for 721 yards and four touchdowns.
Barkley said he wanted to focus on two things. He intends to play with a team-oriented approach while focusing on himself and getting better every day.
Barkley, 24, tore his ACL and meniscus in his right knee in the second game of the 2020 season. He underwent surgery just over a month later, then spent the next nine months in prepare for training camp and possibly the season. It was only decided a few days before the New York opener that he would play Denver, and that would be on a limited basis.
There was some rust, and it took him a month to show signs of old Barkley. In a road game in New Orleans on Oct. 3, Barkley ran 52 yards on 13 carries and scored a winning touchdown on a 6-yard overtime rush. The second overall pick in 2018 also had five catches for 74 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown.
The following week the Giants went to Dallas and Barkley was elated. Backing coach Burton Burns and then-attacking coordinator Jason Garrett both told him ahead of the game that they were expecting big things.
“I felt very confident that I was going to be able to have a great performance for the team and hopefully be able to change the season,” said Barkley.
With just over six minutes to go in the first quarter, Barkley made a short pass down the middle and stepped on the foot of Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis. He sprained his left ankle and missed the next four games.
Over the past year, Barkley has spoken to many athletes about ACL injuries and has decided that each player’s return is an individual thing. Some guys come back in a year. Others take two seasons to get back in shape.
“I think personally, without making any excuses, I felt like after the Saints I felt like I probably would have been on my way to being one of those guys over the course. next season to get back to where you were or even better, and then I just took an unlucky step on someone’s foot, ”he said.
Barkley’s goal so far is simply to improve.
“Basically you just have to end the season on a high note, improve every week, keep looking back, look at what I could learn and improve my game,” he said. .
Barkley declined to discuss his contact. He is set to earn $ 7.21 million next season, the final year of his rookie contract.
“I think I made it clear that this is the place that drafted me,” said Barkley. “I would like to be here forever. But I mean, all the other stuff, I really don’t have time to focus.
Barkley also took the time to say he loves playing with quarterback Daniel Jones, who was closed for the season earlier this week with a neck injury.
“I love the way he works, and I think I’ve said it a few times about how I feel about this guy and his attitude and the way he works,” Barkley said. “I know how special he is and I know how special he is going to be.”