Paul Perkins
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

After failing to recapture the spark of his rookie season, the New York Giants’ Week 1 starting rusher from last season, Paul Perkins, has been waived with a “non-football injury.”

One day before Saquon Barkley, running back of the future, unofficially takes the field as a New York Giants employee for the first time, the team bids farewell to a runner of the past.

The team announced the waiving of running back Paul Perkins, their fifth-round pick of the 2016 draft, on Thursday afternoon.

“Perkins suffered a pectoral injury prior to the start of the team’s offseason conditioning program and subsequently underwent surgery,” wrote Michael Eisen on, describing the ailment as a “non-football injury”.

Drafted 149th overall out of UCLA in 2016, Perkins showed promise in his freshman season, picking up 456 rushing yards, seventh amongst rookies. His 4.1 average carry was also fifth among rookie running backs with at least 100 carries. Over the final three games of the regular season, Perkins broke out with 226 yards, including a 102-yard performance in the Giants’ victorious season finale against Washington.

It was the team’s lone individual 100-yard game of the season. Perkins would go on to start the team’s wild-card playoff game in Green Bay, tallying 57 total yards (30 rushing, 27 receiving).

Confident in the late display, the Giants released veteran Rashad Jennings and installed Perkins as the starter for the 2017 season. However, Perkins failed to recapture the spark from the previous year, picking up just 61 yards over 32 carries in the first four games of the year.

He was subsequently made inactive for the next three games, relinquishing rushing duties to Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman. He did not receive another carry until December, and finish the season with 90 yards on 41 carries, in addition to eight receptions for 46 yards.

Perkins, 23, arrived for the Giants offseason workout program earlier in April, but did not partake in the team’s optional minicamp held from April 24-26.

With his release, Perkins becomes the first member of the Giants’ 2016 draft class to leave the team. Currently ranking third in UCLA history in rushing yards (3,611), Perkins hails from a football family. His father Paul was a fullback at Arizona State, while his uncle Don was a running back with the Dallas Cowboys for eight seasons.

In addition to Barkley, who will partake in the team’s rookie minicamp on Friday and Saturday, the Giants now have three other running backs on the roster, including Gallman, Jonathan Stewart and Jalen Simmons. Though listed as a tight end, the team has primarily featured Shane Smith as a fullback.

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