Running Back Saquon Barkley
September 2, 2021
Q: Did you take your first hit today?
A: We did a normal practice safely, and just talked to the guys and (they) gave me some good shots. But it’s (about) route-running and running routes just to get me back in the flow of things, so I guess you could say yes. But today felt good at practice and practicing with everyone on the team. Think that was definitely needed. Just grateful to be out there and just getting ready for the season.
Q: Does that feel like a checkpoint for you? I’m sure there have been a lot along the way.
A: There have definitely been a lot of checkpoints along the way, but (I’m) just happy to be able to get out there. Yesterday, I had a run and I just thought about like, this is kind of the first time I really carried a ball in that situation from the last time I hurt my knee. Just taking it one day at a time and just being blessed to be able be back out there playing the sport I love, going out there and doing the thing I enjoy the most with a great group of guys.
Q: If the doctors and (Head Coach Joe) Judge told you you’re not playing Week 1, would you accept that?
A: This whole process I’ve been a team player listening to the doctors, listening to the coaches, listening to the trainers knowing that they have my best interest at heart. Whatever they feel that is best for me and best for the team, I’m willing to do.
Q: You mentioned that it felt good to be out there running the ball. Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel? Can you see yourself being back out there soon?
A: I know Week 1 and the season is right around the corner, but I’m just taking it one day at a time. That’s the approach I’m going to take not just rehabbing, but from now on. I feel like that’s the best thought process to have throughout the season, not just for me as a player physically, but mentally, too. So, I’m just going to take it one day at a time and that’s my approach. I’m just happy to be back out there playing the sport I love.
Q: What does that blue ribbon (rolled up prewrap) do for you?
A: It’s like a knee thing. It’s more kind of just for it to be there in place for comfort, I guess you could say. It’s like foam that you roll up and you put on your knee, and it just feels like a place of comfort, I guess you could say.
Q: What’s it like being out there lining up with (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay out there, (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph out there, (Wide Receiver) Sterling (Shepard). It’s the first time that you guys have all really lined up at the same time together. That’s got to be a good feeling, right?
A: Definitely a great feeling to see all those guys out there and to be out there with them. I think we did a great job of adding some key additions to our team in who’s going to help us a lot. Just starting to get out there and getting reps together is definitely beneficial.
Q: Can you guys all put it together quickly? Most of the new pieces and you haven’t been out there this summer. Can you put those offensive pieces together fast or is it going to take some time?
A: I truly don’t know how to answer until we get out there. You never know. You don’t know how the season is going to start. Obviously, you have an idea of how you want it to start, but you never know. I think we have a great group of guys, a veteran group who have been playing football for a really long time. I think between all of us we have a lot of football plays – not too much together, but just in all being on the football field. It’s kind of like we’ve been doing this since – some of us have been playing since seven (years old), middle school, high school, but at the end of the day football is football. We do a great job here of simulating games in practice and getting us ready for games on Sunday.
Q: Was there any hit today that you did a little self-scan right away and said, ‘Okay, everything is in place, we made it through that one’?
A: No. I think that’s a positive thing. I’m not really focusing on it too much. Going out there just practicing, trying to get back to full speed, trying to get back into football condition. It’s two different conditions from being able to run all day to actually go out there and making those live simulated cuts and game cuts and game routes. That’s just been my biggest focus, just getting my conditioning back.
Q: At this point, are you still doing to rehab for the knee or are you just in football mode out there in terms of training and stuff?
A: I rehab every day no matter what. Before the injury, after an injury, I’m always doing something for my body. I put a lot of work into my body, I put a lot of my money into my body, so that’s not going to stop. I guess you could call it ‘prehab.’ That’s how you’ve got to do it not just for injuries that have happened already, but to prevent injuries from happening further down the line. That’s the mindset I’m going to keep doing. I’m going to keep taking care of my body, keep training hard, keep pushing myself and hopefully my body will take care of me.
Q: Do you feel like your old self out there?
A: I guess. I feel good, taking it one day at a time. I’m just not even trying to think about do I look like my old self. I’m a very confident player. I know whenever I’m able to get back out there – maybe it might be one quarter, maybe it might be one play – whatever the opportunity is, when I’m back out there I know I’m going to be able to go out there and be who I am and play how I am. Right now, I’m not focusing on if I’m making cuts saying, ‘Is that how it was before?’ I’m focusing on getting in football shape, just living in the moment, enjoying the moment and playing football again.
Q: Do you feel like you’re close to being in football shape?
A: Do I feel like I’m close? It’s been almost 11, 12 months since I’ve been in a football game, so right now obviously there’s still some work to be done, to be put in because obviously I’ve only been practicing for two to three days. That’s why I’ve got to be a pro outside of football, within football and getting myself ready.
Q: How much have you been pushing them to play, that you want to be on the field Week 1, you want to play Week 1 and you’re ready to go?
A: Those are personal conversations that I have within the team and I don’t feel that it’s needed to be said in the media. I’ve just been coming out here every single day, taking a one-day approach and just knowing that I have a great team around me who have my best interest at heart.