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Saquon Barkley: ‘Do I feel like I’m back? I feel like I’m better’

Barkley has a chip on his shoulder for 2022

New York Giants v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Saquon Barkley is done with the negative commentary. The New York Giants running back is on the final year of his rookie contract, now one year removed from his devastating Week 2 torn ACL suffered in 2020. Barkley is healthy, eager, and reportedly more explosive than ever.

The typically reserved Barkley joined the “2nd Wind” podcast to discuss the upcoming season. When asked if “he was back” (as in back to his 2018 offensive rookie of the year self ), Barkley responded with conviction:

Barkley discussed his developed maturity through the trials and tribulations of his young career while acknowledging the massive chip on his shoulder.

“F—k everyone. I’m ready to go crazy” is a mentality that Giants fans want to see translated on the football field.

Barkley’s rhetoric should come as no surprise. Last week, our very own Ed Valentine asked Barkley this question about the fifth-year running back:

It’s a fair question after head coach Brian Daboll mentioned Barkley getting north and south, which he addressed during the second question. There’s a unique blend of frustration, moxie, and confidence in Barkley’s answers and demeanor.

We witnessed Barkley’s pugnaciousness and willingness to run behind his pads in training camp after he lowered his shoulder against Aaron Robinson in a drill where defenders are told NOT to tackle:

It’s training camp - quarrels will happen.

Barkley displayed his difference-making ability during his 2018 rookie season, which seems like ages ago. The running back rushed for 1,307 yards on 261 carries with 11 rushing touchdowns while catching 91 passes for 721 yards with four receiving touchdowns.

Now a veteran at just 25 years old, Barkley is attempting to regain his rookie form after a 2019 high ankle sprain, a 2020 torn ACL, and a 2021 season in one of the most anemic offenses in recent memory.

Head coach Brian Daboll understands the importance of a healthy Saquon Barkley, and he’s had nothing but good things to say about the former Nittany Lion:

He’s done everything we’ve asked of him,” Daboll said about Barkley. “He’s been really a pleasure to coach. He’s had a good mindset. He’s learned our stuff. He’s played hard, and he’s ran hard... He’s ultra-competitive. He’s very, very competitive. Not just on the field, just really with anything. And you like to see that with your players.”

Barkley appears poised for a massive bounce-back season with an improved offensive line and a more evolved coaching staff.

He’s fed up, wants to prove the doubters wrong, and he’s ready to go crazy. Sign me up for an even more determined Saquon Barkley. I love the enthusiasm. However, none of it means anything until Barkley shows it on Sunday, and he would be the first to admit that.