On Thursday, Saquon Barkley spoke to reporters for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair his torn right ACL.
But any hopes of Barkley winning that prestigious award were quickly crushed when he tore his right ACL in the Giants’ Week 2 loss to the Bears.
It goes without saying Barkley is disappointed his season came to an abrupt conclusion. Nonetheless, he seemed to be in good spirits when he spoke with the media for the first time since the surgery on Thursday.
“For me right now, my approach right now is just focus on the little things,” he said. “That’s coming in every single day, trusting the medical staff, trusting the trainers and all those guys, just knowing that they’re putting me in the right positions to recover as best as I can.”
A follow-up question was asked regarding Barkley’s mindset and if this has been challenging.
“Yeah, it’s definitely a challenge,” he noted. “Just the fact that the game that I love and been playing since I was seven is taken away from me a little bit. That definitely is challenging. But I’m just trying to be as supportive as I can.
“I love seeing my guys out there balling, doing their thing, especially the way we’re playing right now. That definitely makes life a lot easier. I have a lot of great people in my corner, with my family, my friends staying with me and pushing me through.”
Barkley wouldn’t say whether he has a target date in mind on when he feels he’ll be 100% — he’s just taking it day-by-day and trusting the medical staff. However, he did mention that he expects to be the same player he was prior to the injury.
In Barkley’s absence, Wayne Gallman has thrived, averaging 4.0 yards per carry and scoring at least one rushing touchdown in the last five games.
Saquon took the time to speak on Gallman’s 2020 performance.
“Wayne Train, I’m so proud of him. He’s playing amazing,” Barkley said. “Not only him, but Alfred [Morris], EP [Eli Penny], the offensive line, they’re playing amazing. Honestly, I wish I was able to be a part of it. But I’m still part of it to be completely honest.
“That’s my mindset. I’m still part of it in a way. But to see those guys open up those holes and seeing the running backs run in a way that Wayne is running is honestly amazing. It’s really helped the team.”
While the Giants’ focus is on facing the (8-3) Seattle Seahawks this Sunday and winning their first division title since 2011, there’s a question that’ll loom over Barkley’s contract this offseason.
Saquon turns 24 in February, and it’s expected that the Giants will exercise his fifth-year option. There’s also the possibility that he seeks a new contract just like fellow running backs Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey did following their respective third seasons in the league.
Despite potentially being on the verge of signing a lucrative deal, the contract situation seemed to be the furthest thing on Barkley’s mind.
“I don’t really focus on it. Not really focused on money or anything right now,” Barkley mentioned. “I’m really focusing on trying to come in every single day and get one percent better. Whatever that day is, I can come back and be ready for my team.”
Barkley’s response, once again, reflects on why he was named one of the team captains for the second consecutive season, and why he’ll likely don the “C” on his jersey next year as well.