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Giants’ RB Saquon Barkley focused on legacy, not finances, as season begins

Barkley: ‘I would be doing a disservice to myself to get too caught up in my future and worrying about what’s going to happen and being a Giant for life.’

Carolina Panthers v New York Giants
Saquon Barkley
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Saquon Barkley may still want to be a Giant for life, but the New York Giants star running back has turned his focus away from that discussion with Sunday’s season-opening game against the Dallas Cowboys looming.

“My focus is really on just this season, take it one day at a time. I was asked that before and I said, like I said it before, everyone knows how I feel,” Barkley said on Wednesday. “I was public about it before, but I think I would be doing a disservice to myself to get too caught up in my future and worrying about what’s going to happen and being a Giant for life. I’ve got to live in the moment, I’ve got to live in the now and like I’ve said multiple times for five years, kind of a saying that I stole from (Penn State head coach) James Franklin, take it one day at a time, live in the moment and let the rest take care of itself.”

As he did during training camp, Barkley reiterated that he carries “no hard feelings” from the offseason contract negotiations that ended with him unable to get a long-term deal from the Giants and being forced to accept playing on the franchise tag — albeit, with some incentives added.

“Obviously, my contract stuff and everything was public and talked about. I would turn on the TV and I’m seeing myself being talked about. But for me, all that’s in the past,” he said. “Like I said, once I made that mindset to come here, you’ve got to be mature about it. No hard feelings about it. So now, my back’s against the wall again. I’ve got to go out there and prove it. I’m going to go out there and play my heart out, compete at a high level and do what I do best, not only for myself, but for my teammates.”

Barkley said his motivation for the season is not financial.

“No, it’s not more of that. The financial part of it, obviously that’s part of business. You go out there, you perform at a high level whether that’s for the Giants or other teams, but for me, it’s more of like, I kind of see last year as kind of like a rookie year, I guess. Not my rookie year, obviously, it’s year five, but being back on the scene and showing what I’m capable of doing and now, how can I take it to another level?,” he said. “Whether that’s in between the tackles, outside of tackles, catching the ball, running routes, showing why I was drafted number two. I feel like I was able to do that last year, but now I want to be able to take it to another level and be special. Everyone always talks about the legacy and the names on these walls in this locker room and in the indoor facility, and that’s what I want to be a part of. So, hopefully I can start off to a great start and go on a high note in Week 1.”