Running Back Saquon Barkley
August 26, 2021
Q: How does it feel to be back?
A: It felt good. Obviously, I wasn’t at practice yesterday, but it feels good being with the team, feels good to get a couple of team reps. It’s just fun to be able to play football again, feel like a little kid and just taking it day by day.
Q: On the two-minute drill, you get in two plays, catch two passes and you run off the field. Did any football instinct in you say ‘Let me stay out here? I’m in a groove now.”
A: Yeah, obviously as a player you want to stay in. I honestly think the second one I might have gotten a lot more than what we were counting for. I kind of just saw, I think (Running Back) Corey (Clement) running off the sideline, so I knew I was coming off. Just getting back to the feel of things, caught a little swing route in the 7-on-7 and really forgot we were in the low red zone. It’s those little stuff that is just going to come to you naturally as you continue to take more reps.
Q: Did you want that opportunity when you’re in that spot to shake the defense or avoid that contact or bounce off the contact?
A: Yeah, I mean that’s the next thing to be completely honest. Like I said, it’s just taking it one day at a time. But we’re at the point where I’m allowed to start taking team reps and those steps are going to happen naturally, especially throughout a couple more weeks coming up. You know me, as a player I want to go out there and make plays and especially in those situations when it’s two minute and it’s our team versus their team. Those things are going to come naturally, and I’ve just got continue to be patient and when I have the opportunities, take advantage of them.
Q: Yesterday, (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) talked about how you needed to get hit before you get out there on the field in a game setting. How badly do you want to start feeling those first hits?
A: I definitely want to get hit again. To me, it’s not just the hitting, it’s just playing football. Even though I only took two reps and a couple of reps in 7-on-7, those reps are so valuable right now and going to help me in the long run.
Q: Did you think you’d get the 11-on-11 reps today?
A: Yeah, I had an idea that I would be getting in. Just had to stay warm on the side(line), and whenever my opportunity was that I was able to go out there, (just) do what I’m able to do.
Q: Do you think your vision as a ball carrier will come back right away?
A: All of that is going to come back just naturally, just with the game and playing football. Obviously, I am going to be a little behind than where I was when I last left off. That just naturally happens when you don’t play football for 11 months, 12 months, (whatever) it is. My eyes are going to be alright because I’ve been watching a lot of film and watching a lot of practice. It’s different than watching and actually going out there and assimilating with the speed. It’s just trusting my steps, trusting my footwork, trusting the scheme and the line blocking, and all that stuff will come back together.
Q: When you’re watching the film back tonight and you see 26 in a red jersey, is that weird to see?
A: I hate it, I hate it. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I said something in the locker room today, ‘I don’t care if it’s pink, orange, yellow, whatever color is on, as long as I’m going to be able to get out there. I’m going to take some reps for my team and that’s the only thing that matters to me.’
Q: Were you pleased with how your body reacted to the contact on the last catch and run on the slant?
A: I think that’s a positive thing because it’s the first time I’m thinking about it, so I would say it’s a good thing. I really didn’t think about that at all. When I caught the ball, I wasn’t even thinking about my knee or anything. That kind of naturally happens, it’s like I said before when we talked, the stuff where it’s easier for me in the rehab process is when we were assimilating football stuff. So much stuff is going (on) out there on the football field, it really takes your mind off of it. I would say that’s a positive sign.
Q: Were you 100 percent today or are you still feeling your way through it?
A: Within the realm of what I was doing, I was 100 percent. I didn’t get to really open up, they kind of blew the whistle. I personally think maybe it would have been a different outcome there. I’m going 100 percent with what I’m able to do, but continue as we get more reps and I get more team reps and more work in, more of those natural reps are going to come in.
Q: You’ve been back a few weeks now, how close do you feel like your old self?
A: I feel really good right now. I’m taking it one day at a time, continuing to listen to (Director of Rehabilitation/Physical Therapist) Leigh (Weiss), (Senior Vice President, Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie (Barnes), all the training staff and all the strength guys. My body is responding really well, so that’s another positive thing. We’ll see how after I continue to take more reps in team periods and team training, see how my body responds to that and we’ll get to know a little bit more.
Q: Did you run the hill with everybody else?
A: Yeah, we ran the hill and they got to do five yesterday and I missed it, so I did my five today.