Training camp for the New York Giants started on Wednesday, and Saquon Barkley is finally starting to feel like the best version of himself after dealing with numerous injuries over the last few seasons.
“I feel a lot better than I felt at this point last year,” said Barkley, who averaged 3.7 yards per carry and only 45.6 rushing yards per game last season. “My body feels strong. Feel like I got my strength back. Feel like I got my speed back. Feel like I can trust my knee again, trust myself to make plays and not think about it.”
New York drafted Barkley second overall in 2018, and his rookie season initially validated the decision. He broke the franchise’s single-season records for rushing yards (1,307) and rushing touchdowns (11) by a rookie. His 15 touchdowns overall were the most by a Giants rusher since Brandon Jacobs in 2005 and earned the Penn State product Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Barkley added to his chapter in the team’s history books by becoming their first RB to top 1,000 rushing yards in his first two seasons.
But his second season was also when injuries began plaguing him.
He missed three games in 2019 because of an ankle injury and all but two games in the 2020 campaign following an ACL tear. Last year, he was sidelined for four games with another ankle injury. Finally healthy this offseason, Barkley did his best to get his body right.
“Coming into this camp, focusing on my body, working on my body, doing all the little things necessary to keep my body healthy,” Barkley said. “When you can trust your body, your confidence just grows.”
Still, Barkley doesn’t want to get too ahead of himself as the Giants prepare for a new season.
“You can’t get too high on it because it’s just minicamp right now,” Barkey said. “But all the little stuff in gaining confidence here, in this break that we have, hopefully catapults and pushes me through camp and to the regular season and beyond.”
Barkley is in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.
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