RB Saquon Barkley
June 9, 2021
Q. How are you doing and during the course of this rehab, was there ever a moment where you looked at your body, you looked at running, looked at a drill you said, and say, ‘yep, I'm going to be back here, I'm good, after a long, long rehab’; was there ever a moment that it kicked in to you?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, I mean, I come in every single day just trying to work as hard as I can. Being patient, listening to the team, listening to the trainers and listening to the doctors. I'm out there, there's drills that you go through and you're just trying to see where you're at and there's some things that I do that I know that my rehab is going really well. There’s some things that happen that you know you've got to do a little more work and that's part of the rehab process. You have your ups and your downs physically and mentally.
I have a great team and family and support system around me and just being back in the building around all the guys and starting to watch football again and being involved in the meetings; it's definitely something that I just feel happy to be back and able to be part of that again.
Q. Is there a part of this that challenged you the most so far? I think everyone expects you to come back, be great and obviously that's the hope; the hope as well as the expectation but what part challenged you the most?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I would say right now it's the football thing, just missing being out there. Seeing your teammates, whether when I was injured or in a brace or getting prepared for surgery and watching the game on TV and not being able to be out there with my teammates or even right now, obviously I get my work done before them.
But to be able to watch and see them out there and not being able to participate with them right now, those are the toughest things.
At the end of the day, like I say, you have your ups and downs but that's the biggest thing I miss the most just being able to go out there and be a kid again and play football and play a sport that I love and be surrounded with my teammates and just go out there and train football.
Q. What is your timetable for getting back and playing in a real football game?
SAQUON BARKLEY: You know me, I'm going to take it one day at a time, come in with my head down and ready to work. I'm fortunate enough that I don't think that I have anyone around me -- not going to think I know from top to bottom, there's nothing that's going to be forced for me to come back. It's going to be whenever my body tells me I'm ready and it will show when I'm ready to go, that's when I'll be able to go out there and be hopefully as good as I was before or even better.
Q. How tough will it be to be patient? Obviously now it's the spring, but when training camp starts, are you expecting to be full go when the season starts?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, it's tough -- again, it's tough because it's getting closer and closer. But at the end of the day, you've just got to continue to stay patient. This is helping teach me patience. When you're a dad and you have a little three-year-old girl running around the house, that teaches you patience, too.
But also, when you have a sport that you love that’s taken away from you, you want to get back there as fast as you can obviously, but you have to be smart. At the end of the day I want to do the best for my team, not just for a short span but for a long time.
Like I said I have no expectation, no set day when I'm going to be full go. I'm going to come into work every single day because that's all I know. I got to this point where I'm at in my life, this is all about work, so it's not going to stop, it's not going to change, and if anything, it's going to make me work harder.
Q. Along the lines of maybe a little bit of what you said, did you have to compartmentalize throughout this process, and I've talked to a lot of guys who rehab injuries and they say they feel like they are on an island, that they are isolated from the team. Did you work hard to make sure that even during your rehab that you were a part of this team? I know you made a few trips last season and even this spring being here, being a part of this. Was that a conscious choice on your part to make sure that you were away but you weren't too far away?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, I definitely think that was a part of it. But also, I think from [Head Coach Joe] Judge, [running back] coach [Burton] Burns, all the coaches, all my teammates, making me feel like I was a part of it, especially the second half of the season when everything was going well. There's a point where I was out in L.A. for a little bit and I just missed it. I just missed being in the back, just being in the facility, being with the guys. I was able to come back with them and kind of finish the season off with them and be here till the season finished.
Obviously, you have to go off on your own a little bit because everyone goes their separate ways, but I think the team offense did a really good job of getting the team together, whether we met up here or there or other times. That does go in the back of your mind, that you can be in a position to feel like you're alone but I don't think for me personally, because I think I made a conscious effort and I think just the team and the facility that we have here and the organization that we have here, I never felt like that to be honest.
Q. Where are you in your rehab? What are you able to do? What are you not able to do and when do you anticipate being back at 100 percent?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I just anticipate coming in every single day and work, work hard, work my butt off, listen to the coaches, listen to the trainers, listen to the doctors. Take it one day at a time and when I'm able to go out there and participate with the team again, I'm going to be ready.
Q. And where are you in the rehab? Like what are you able to do? Are you cutting? Are you jumping?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I'm doing well. I'm doing pretty well. Just taking it one day at a time. Listening to the trainers. From [Senior Vice President, Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer] Ronnie [Barns] to [Director of Rehabilitation/Physical Therapist] Leigh [Weiss] and all the way down and being in conversation with the Dr. ElAttrache and Dr. Rodeo and just listening to them and taking it one day at a time.
Q. Now that Wayne Gallman is gone, you're the receipt vet of the running back room. Is it weird being without Wayne in the building? And are you looking forward to taking a guy like Gary Brightwell under your wing as a rookie coming into the league?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, definitely just so happy for Wayne. Obviously would have loved for him to be here than going to the 49ers, wish him nothing but the best. That's not just a teammate but one of my brothers; I'm always there for him and he's always there for me.
Going into year four, understanding the offense a little bit more and understanding football a little bit more, even though I wasn't playing last year, just the way I'm able to answer some questions in the meeting rooms, joke around, smile -- something like that, joking around.
GB, excited for him, I think he's really talented. Any time in the meeting rooms or anything that I've seen so far in my short -- as a veteran, give him advice and help him out as much as I can.
Q. I'm not sure we talked to you since then, but John Mara said earlier this spring, they reiterated they want you to be a Giant for life but they are not in any hurry to get a contract extension done for you. My question for you is: I know you're focused on your rehab, but will you play without a new contract?
SAQUON BARKLEY: No. Hearing the owner come out and say, basically speaking on longevity and seeing me here in the future, that means a lot. This is the place that drafted me. It's special place to me. And it's an honor and privilege to be able to put on the blue and white and come out as a Giant.
But when it comes to the contract situation, that's something that's not even crossing my mind. I have an amazing agent; those are things that I have conversations with her about, but for me right now, only thing I'm focusing on is coming here and working my butt off to get ready as soon as I can, so when I'm out there, I'm not just 100 percent, I am 110 percent and I can perform to the best of my ability for my team.
Q. When you said "No" at the start of the answer, that wasn't an answer to my question, you were just dismissing the notion that you would --
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, yeah.
Q. What are you doing these last few days with the practices? Are you peeking out the window to see what's going on with this team and what do you think about the offensive weapons that they have brought in in the off-season?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, coming in at the same time, doing some rehab and going on the field and getting my work done before practice. And when I'm done, get a little more extra work. Yeah, I've been peeking through the windows.
Yeah, I said I do peek through the window and watch practice. I know a couple -- I know Jordan saw me in the lunchroom, but yeah, I'm really excited about the offensive weapons we added, not just offensive weapons that we added; all the weapons we added and all the people we signed. I think we have a lot of talent and we have a chance to be very special.
But at the end of the day, it's not going to change my mind, you've got to buy in and believe in each other and take it one day at a time.
Q. If I go out and I do something wrong, trip over the stoop or something like that, I sit there and I'm wondering, am I going to do it again or whatever. Is there any fear that this might not work out?
SAQUON BARKLEY: No. That's a great question to be completely honest and really the conversations that you have to have within yourself to be completely honest, too. No, it's not a fear. Because at the end of the day, you know, just being out last year, or the ankle sprain the year before, I don't know if I've been hurt other than that, but I have just belief in that you can control what you can control. Both times that I've been so far in any NFL career were things that really nothing I could have done to change.
So, for me, I'm just going to continue to work, continue to rehab and try to control the things that I can control and go out there and play free. Just go out there and be 26 and be Saquon Barkley and be that big kid that loves the game of football and plays with a smile and plays for his teammates.
Q. I know you have no doubts that you will be the same player that you have been. Have you had a moment on the field or in rehab where you felt like the same guy where you made a move or you thought, okay, there it is, I can see that this is going to come back to me again? And also, I know you want to be vague about your timeline, but do you have any doubts that you'll be on the field on opening day?
SAQUON BARKLEY: For the first part of the question, I just keep working. That's how it is. It's not like -- I can't really judge myself from only seven months out of surgery. Even if something was really good or not -- that's not me at all. I'm just taking it one day at a time, small little wins, you climb up a mountain, you're not going to get up there in one step, it's a lot of steps and you have to take it one day at a time and that's the approach I'm taking.
Q. Do you have any doubt that you will be there for this team on opening day?
SAQUON BARKLEY: To that part of the question, only thing that -- there's not really anything that crosses my mind. Only thing for me is just work and just try to be ready for my team, whenever that is, and like I said, I'm very blessed and in a great place where I feel like, you never know, other places and different circumstances, you feel like you're being rushed. But I don't think; I know, from Coach Judge from the training room from top to bottom from my teammates that I know that they want to see me healthy, but they want me out there when they know I can be out there. For me it's coming to into work every single day so I can be a help to my team, and we have a successful season.