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Former teammates Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. underwent major knee surgeries just 10 days apart in late October and are now planning on rehabbing together. The Giants running back spoke with ESPN’s Jordan Raanan on why it makes sense:
“Only thing I do know that I have planned for sure, I’m definitely going to link up with Odell,” Barkley said. “Obviously, Odell tore his knee a little too. I think we both need just being there. We’re really good friends. Competing with each other and pushing each other will also be good too. That’s the only thing for certain I know I will do. Everything else is up in the air.”
Barkley goes on about how he plans to get back on the field.
“But obviously we both wouldn’t want to go through this, I guess you would say, but I think it’s very important that since we are really close and we know each other so well and we are two competitors and we think we can really help each other, I do think it’s important to really link up. But at the same time, we both have to come in with the mindset of getting one percent better each day. That’s what we have to get from each other. Any way we can get it.”
Barkley even opened up an invitation for other players
“Every year, we always link up with him at some point, somewhere. Definitely going to find a way to link up. Obviously I would love to, any of those guys that are going through this injury, whether it’s Joe Burrow, Devin Bush, Bud Dupree, there’s a couple guys, any guy, I think it would be really dope if we could all link up.”
Overall, a galvanizing statement, but there’s really two issues at work.
- Like Saquon suggests, rehabs move at wildly different paces for different players. One player could be future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson who practically walked off his ACL surgery, and then you can have an RGIII by his side who isn’t making those same strides. In the environment Barkley wants, Griffin III may then attempt to push his body even harder and risk an avoidable setback, which would do more harm than good. It’s still a nice gesture to want to help push your friends to be better in a time of need, though.
- Saquon Barkley expressed that he and OBJ get together “almost every offseason”, and that should worry Giants fans. Beckham is seen as a cancer by most football executives and fans, who may assume that OBJ’s “me” mentality will rub off on Saquon. Whatever fans may think of “buddy buddy” practices and star players eating together, these players will still find ways to impact each other, for better or for worse.
Barkley and Beckham should definitely get together and simply be good friends. However, there are potential issues that may come with that well-intended competitiveness.