Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants is keeping very active in a traditionally dormant period on the NFL calendar.
This is already shaping up to be a good month for Barkley, who was granted an apology from NJ Advance Media New York Giants writer Ryan Dunleavy, stemming from a tweet gone wrong back in 2015.
To clarify, Dunleavy is still reaping in virtual vitriol from Giants and Penn State fans alike for a critical September 2015 tweet about Barkley, a former Rutgers football recruit who instead chose the Nittany Lions. Covering Penn State’s September showdown against Rutgers from that season, Dunleavy sealed his fate in less than 140 characters, commenting on Barkley’s status with Penn State.
— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) September 20, 2015
It seems shocking now, but prior to the game, Dunleavy’s prophecy wasn’t as outlandish as it looks today. Barkley, then a true freshman, was situated with three other first-year backs, so some felt it’d be difficult for him to get consistent carries in the Penn State backfield. That certainly seemed to be the case when the season opened, as Barkley had just one carry in Penn State’s season-opening loss to Temple. However, Barkley quickly took over the Nittany Lion offense, cracking the century mark in just his second career game, a 115-yard performance in a 27-14 win over Buffalo.
Much to Dunleavy’s presumed horror, Barkley officially introduced himself to the college football scene against Rutgers, tallying a whopping 195 yards and two touchdowns in what became a 28-3 Penn State win. He would finish the year with 1,237 yards from scrimmage, en route to a 7-6 record, complete with an appearance in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl against Georgia.
To his credit, Dunleavy, who joined the Giants beat in January, has been a very good sport about the situation. During the team’s mandatory minicamp proceedings last week, he created a poster featuring the tweet specifically for Barkley, who responded positively to the gesture. Dunleavy documented his apology saga in an article published on NJ.com on Tuesday.
“They are more than loyal,” Barkley said of his online defenders. “They are fun on Twitter. Them coming at you, that’s awesome.”
Barkley, however, was more than happy to let bygones be bygones. In a symbolic hatchet-burying, Barkley tore up the poster, which Dunleavy likewise posted on NJ.com.
“That was fun. I’ll tell them to lay off you now,” Barkley told Dunleavy with a smile.
Barkley received further good news on Tuesday, as ESPN announced he would appear its annual Body Issue, a celebration of athletes bodies featuring sports stars in nude and semi-nude positions. Of the 16 athletes announced by ESPN, Barkley will be joined by legendary NFL receiver Jerry Rice in the issue, as well as NBA All-Star Karl Anthony-Towns, Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins, and Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel. Barkley becomes the second Giant to pose in the issue, as Odell Beckham Jr. appeared in 2015.
The issue, which will mark its 10th anniversary, is set to be released on June 29.