The Giants — and their fan base — are eager to see running back Saquon Barkley back on the field following an ACL injury. However, no one knows when that will be, maybe not even Barkley.
“Those are conversations I actually haven’t even had yet, so far, with the trainers and the coaches,” Barkley said when asked on “The Rich Eisen Show” if he would start the season on the PUP list. “The focus is to take it one day at a time and kind of go with the flow. Listen to your body and listen to your team, and listen to your coaches.”
Barkley has not played live football since Sept. 20, 2020, when he was injured trying to bounce a run to the outside. He was wrestled down by a Chicago Bears defender and immediately held his knee in agony.
In a game and a quarter last season, Barkley rushed for just 34 yards on 19 carries for 1.8 yards per carry. But he was running behind a horrendous Giants offensive line that did not make strides until later in the season.
Since his surgery, Barkley has been rehabbing and trying to take care of his body. He was seen before Giants minicamp and OTAs working out and strengthening his herculean legs. However, once the team ran onto the field to start practices, Barkley would go back to the weight room and do his own routine.
Eisen pressed Barkley at times and asked about his potential status for Week 1 in a few different ways during the interview — but the running back did not budge. The closest Eisen got to an answer was by asking Barkley if he selected him No. 1 overall in his fantasy draft, would he “enjoy it immensely” by doing so.
“I believe so,” Barkley said. “I know so.”
The Giants are taking no such risks. They added running backs Devontae Booker, Corey Clement and sixth-round pick Gary Brightwell to the roster this offseason. While none of them are close to stealing Barkley’s starting job, they give the Giants added depth in the event he does not return for the beginning of the season. Coach Joe Judge will also not let one of his prized players out onto the field until he is good and ready.
“We’re going to make sure we take Saquon’s rehab at the correct rate for his individual body and injury,” Judge said during last month’s minicamp. “It’s not any mirror of anyone else’s injury, we have to make sure we let him go at his pace so that when we put him on the field, he can play 100% aggressive and be confident that he can go out there and play safe and play effective.”