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Saquon Barkley: “I feel like I’ve got a lot to prove”

Giants running back says he’s only focused on helping the team, not worried about contract

Syndication: The Record Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley told reporters Wednesday that he isn’t worried about a contract extension. His focus remains the Giants.

“I’m not even focused on that,” said Barkley. “The best thing that I can do is just focus on what I can control. That’s showing up, being healthy, going out there at OTAs, camp and in season and performing, work hard, keep my mind right, study the playbook.

“I’m a big believer, and I’ve been saying it since day one since you guys met me, everything is going to take care of itself.”

When asked further about the future Barkley added that “if I put myself in that place, I just feel like for my mental, for everything, just energy-wise it’s not good for me. It’s not going to bring any positivity to that at all.”

And lately, says Barkley, he’s been feeling pretty good. For at least a year now, the 25-year-old was far from saying that given his recovery from a torn ACL in 2020. Barkley played in 13 games last season, rushing for 593 yards and two touchdowns on 3.7 yards per carry. He did suffer a rolled ankle in Week 5 and later went into Covid protocol in November.

“I definitely feel a lot different, a lot better. I feel like myself again,” said Barkley. “Obviously, I don’t want to jump the gun, I just want to keep focusing on the little things and get better every day. No matter what for the rest of your career, with injuries, every offseason is going to be kind of somewhat rehabbing or pre-habbing.”

But Barkley also admitted that he has something to prove. He’s arguably no longer considered in the upper-tier of running backs, not due to lack of ability, but because of inconsistency in remaining healthy. And, frankly, he hasn’t put up the kind of season that get people noticing, and 2021 wasn’t a shining example by any means.

Barkley had no trouble facing up to that.

“I feel like I’ve got a lot to prove,” he said. “I feel like there’s a lot of guys in the running back room, the wide receiver room, the quarterback room, who’ve got a lot to prove. We’re very talented. We believe in each other, and we believe in the system that’s in place.”

While Barkley’s soundbites are usually positive, he did allow himself to let off a little bit of steam on the media, seemingly going after one scribe in particular. He spoke on how much he wants to get back to playing before switching gears.

“My mindset from just the last two years, to be honest, I kind of just want to kill, go crazy. I don’t want to jump the gun. It’s a long way before September and we start of the regular season... To be honest, I’m just tired of whatever is written about me, the BS that’s said about me or this team. I want to go out there and prove to this organization that the player they drafted is still there, I can still do special things with the ball in my hands, and I can help this team.

“One thing I’ve learned is the story that’s going to be told is people are going to shape it the way they want it to be told. I feel like there’s a lot of things that are left out.”

One media member asked Barkley why he thought it was BS, given his recent struggles with productivity. Barkley said, “The productivity level, it’s just – I don’t want to really get too into the details of what is being said. If I get into that, probably you know who I’m talking about. So, I’m just going to say that I’m just tired of BS. Just want to go out there, play the game I love, and have fun with my teammates.”