Since arriving in East Rutherford, New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley has not only at times looked like a veteran running back, he’s also gone about his business like someone who has played in the league a lot longer than one game.
Surprisingly, Barkley wasn’t always so sure about his athletic future. In an exclusive interview airing on Football Night in America, Barkley admitted to NFL insider Peter King that at one point, he had doubts about his football future.
“I wanted to give up on football … just being immature, selfish, things weren’t going my way,” Barkley told King in an interview that also touched upon his family’s move from New York to Pennsylvania.
It was Barkley’s father Alibay who convinced his son to stick with the game.
“My father gave me some of the best advice that was ever given to me in my life: ‘Once you quit on one thing, you’re a quitter for the rest of your life,’” Barkley told King.
“That’s when my life just kind of changed for me, when my mentality started changing, when I started really envisioning myself playing in the NFL and playing college football.”
Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, had a very successful three-year career for Penn State. He rushed for 3,843 yards and 43 touchdowns on 671 carries and added another 1,195 yards and 8 touchdowns on 102 receptions.
The Giants have been intrigued not only by Barkley's running ability, but also by his ability to create mismatches in space. In last week’s game, Barkley gained 106 yards on 18 carries, including a 68-yard touchdown run. He also added two receptions for 22 yards.
Barkley’s budding NFL career might just be getting started, but already the 21-year-old rookie has recognized a couple of goals.
The first was his buying a new home for his family.
“My family had their own struggles before and that’s something that I thought we never really had,” he told King. “We obviously always had a home but had to pay rent. Now, my mom doesn’t really have to focus on that anymore.”
The other accomplishment is that he’s now in the Madden video game, a fact that has his father beyond thrilled.
“The one thing that I am excited (for), is that my son is on Madden. That’s crazy,” Alibay Barkley told King.
“To see him in it, he doesn’t have to make a man anymore. He doesn’t have to make himself. He’s there. I’m not going to lie about that one. That’s crazy.”
The full interview, which will also include quotes from Hall of Fame Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith on Barkley, will air before the Giants and Cowboys kickoff their contest at 8:20 p.m.