Giants running back Saquon Barkley is looking to bounce back in 2022 after a couple of injury-riddled seasons.
Barkley, who tore his ACL and meniscus early in the 2020 season, said at Wednesday’s minicamp practice that his confidence has taken a hit over the past couple years. Despite playing 13 games last season, Barkley said he didn’t have full trust in his right knee, which contributed to his struggles on the ground.
But that was last season for Barkley, who says he’s starting to get his “swagger back” heading into this season.
“Coming into this [minicamp], focus on my body, work on my body. Doing all the little things necessary to keep my body healthy,” Barkley said, via ESPN. “When you have that, when you can trust your body, your confidence just grows.
I would say the difference [from college to now] was I was a way more confident player in college and early in my career than I was prior to last year. “Now I’m starting to get that swagger back.”
Barkley, 25, is entering his fifth season in the league and will play on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. A healthy and successful season would go a long way in securing a contract extension from New York or a chance to break the bank in next year’s free agency.
The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year is still looking to replicate the success of that season, where he compiled 2,028 yards from scrimmage. In the following three seasons, Barkley has accumulated 2,391 total yards.
“I’ll tell you I feel a lot better than at this point last year,” Barkley said. “Like you said, I was rehabbing. My body feels good. My body feels strong. I’ve got my strength back. I feel like I got my speed back. I feel like I can trust in my knee again. Trust in myself to make plays and not think about it.”
It’ll be yet another system for Barkley, as Brian Daboll comes in as the third Giants head coach since Barkley was drafted. Daboll said the offense will be built around the skill guys, which includes Barkley.
“Yeah, I see a talented player. I’m glad he’s on our team,” Daboll said. “Look forward to working with him. He’s been great since I’ve been here just on the field, running around. Has been impressive. Again, we got to go out there and do it with pads and under some pressure. Everything we’ve asked him to do to this point, he has done a really nice job.”