RB SAQUON BARKLEY
Q. (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) said after the Combine, he called you kind of right away to say he's not shopping you or anything. What did that call mean to you?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, I appreciated the call. He just wanted to get off on the right foot. I was like, it is what it is. I wasn't really worried about it in anyway. My mindset was just come into work no matter what. Besides that, just love being back. I'm feeling healthy, working hard. Love the energy that we have in the building. I love the energy Joe, (Head Coach Brian) Dabs, all the coaches are bringing. I'm excited for this year.
Q. Saquon, this is the first off-season in a while you haven't had a rehab. Have you noticed a difference in yourself? Do you feel differently this off-season so far?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah. I definitely feel a lot different, a lot better. I feel like myself again. Obviously, I don't want to jump the gun, I just want to keep focusing on the little things and get better every day. No matter what for the rest of your career, with injuries, every off-season is going to be kind of somewhat rehabbing or prehabbing so you make sure you don't get injured.
My mindset is just keep working on the little things and focus on the things that I can control. I can't control me stepping on someone's foot and hurting my ankle. I've got to put that in the past. I've got to worry about taking care of my ankle, I've got to worry about taking care of my knee, I've got to worry about taking care of all my body parts so I can be healthy – because I know when I'm healthy I know what I can do for this team and what I'm able to bring to the table.
Q. Since you are entering the final year of your contract, would you like to have discussions with the Giants this offseason about an extension beyond this year?
SAQUON BARKLEY: You mean coming into the season?
Q. You see some guys going into their fifth-year option year will do an extension in the summer. Is that something you'd like to do, or play out your option?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I'm not even focused on that. The best thing that I can do is just focus on what I can control. That's showing up, being healthy, going out there at OTAs, camp and in season and performing, work hard, keep my mind right, study the playbook.
I'm a big believer, I've been saying it since day one since you guys met me, everything is going to take care of itself. I've only got to focus on what I can focus on and what I can control. That's everything within my realm. That's my main thing right now.
Q. What was your reaction at the Combine when Joe Schoen left the door open to everything? He admitted he did take some calls from teams interested in you. What was your thought process and how you were processing that?
SAQUON BARKLEY: At first, I was working out and I came home and my phone was blowing up. I was like, 'What the heck?' At first, I thought I got traded, but you never know in today's world.
But then when I looked it up and I saw it, I didn't really take it like that, to be completely honest. That's his job. He's supposed to do whatever he feels that can help this team win and this organization win. That's his job. When I saw the response, I really didn't take it as, 'Oh, dang, he wants to get rid of me, or the Giants want to trade me.' To be honest, I felt like that was more of just word-of-mouth, the media kind of create a story. I didn't really take it like that to be completely honest.
Like I said, at first, I was like, 'Oh, what the heck did happen,' because of my phone. But I was cool. My mindset was Dabs called me, Joe called me, I got right back with my trainer and my PT, and right to work.
Q. I know he's told us he told you he's not shopping you. Did he tell you he won't trade you?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I feel like the conversations between me and him stays in-house. What was said and what I told him was, 'Welcome to New York.' You've got to be careful with the things you say because they can spin it one way and turn it into another story.
Q. What do you think this new offense, this new regime, can give you an opportunity to be a playmaker in the sense of receiving, rushing, and take advantage of your talent?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, not just me. I feel like I've got a lot to prove. I feel like there's a lot of guys in the running back room, the wide receiver room, the quarterback room, who've got a lot to prove. We're very talented. We believe in each other, and we believe in the system that's in place. Right now, it's about getting one percent better every day.
Obviously, you start smiling when you see plays work out there and you see how they work in the film room or when you're going over the playbook. You've got to just focus on the little things, getting better every single day. When those opportunities come, make sure we stay healthy enough and we capitalize on the plays that we can make.
Q. You said you feel like yourself again. What are you doing physically now you weren't doing a year ago?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I'm not rehabbing the knee. That's one. I'm not out there thinking anymore. At the time, you're like, 'I'm not even thinking about it,' but then when you replace yourself and look back a year later you're like, 'Oh my God, it's two completely different things.'
Getting stronger, getting back to how I like to train, my training résumé. Also adding the new things to keep me healthy – mobility-wise, stability-wise, all those little things. It's not just the now. I want to play this game for a long time. I don't want to have a short career. That comes with taking care of your body. That's really the biggest difference I'm doing, training hard and pushing my body, but also training smart.
Q. Did your mindset grow during that recovery process? Do you see yourself attacking the game differently? How are you approaching it knowing you're coming into it with a different attack point?
SAQUON BARKLEY: My mindset from just the last two years, to be honest, I kind of just want to kill, go crazy. I don't want to jump the gun. It's a long way before September and we start of the regular season.
To be honest, I'm just tired of whatever is written about me, the BS that's said about me or this team. I want to go out there and prove to this organization that the player they drafted is still there, I can still do special things with the ball in my hands, and I can help this team.
Q. Why do you think it's BS, the things that were written about your production level with injury history?
SAQUON BARKLEY: One thing I've learned is the story that's going to be told is people are going to shape it the way they want it to be told. I feel like there's a lot of things that are left out –
Q. Why is it BS, you were not productive?
SAQUON BARKLEY: It's not just that, to be completely honest. The productivity level, it's just – I don't want to really get too into the details of what is being said. If I get into that, probably you know who I'm talking about. So, I'm just going to say that I'm just tired of BS. Just want to go out there, play the game I love, and have fun with my teammates.
Q. Since you've gotten here, now third new regime basically. Has there ever been a point with everything you've gone through, where you took a step back and thought maybe I need a fresh start? Why are you committed to being here?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I love it here. I feel like, this place has so much tradition and so much history and I want to be part of the success that comes back to this place. I don't want to look back on my career and say, 'Dang, when I was in New York with the Giants, I was part of the down years.' I know the talent we have in our locker room. I know what we're able to do as a team. We've just got to continue to stick to the little things, continue to buy-in and continue to believe in each other.
To be honest, when I was a kid, I was a Jets fan. I used to drive to New York and pass the stadium, the old stadium. I always told my dad I wanted to play in that stadium. I'm playing in MetLife, obviously I'm playing for the Giants. Something I wanted to do as a kid. I want to be special here.
Q. Has the running back position changed since your rookie year? When you were a rookie, you caught 91 passes. Do you see that increasing and running becoming less important?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Do you mean within our playbook or talking about in the league?
Q. It seems running backs are catching more passes rather than being thousand-yard rushers.
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, I guess you could say that that's where the game is going. I feel like if you think of the top backs, they're all able to do some catching the ball in the backfield, some route-running, I feel like it just adds versatility to the game and a way you can be productive for the team.
Q. You mentioned your emotional connection to this team. Does it cross your mind this could be your last year here or is that something that concerns you?
SAQUON BARKLEY: No, I'm not really focusing on that. I feel like if I put myself in that place, I just feel like for my mental, for everything, just energy-wise it's not good for me. It's not going to bring any positivity to that at all. No matter what, if I go crazy, whatever happens, God forbid, I just try to focus on the now, coming in, enjoying the process, enjoying with my teammates here, loving the game, having fun playing the game. Like I said, it's something I've been wanting to do since I was a little kid. I'm living my dream. I'm going to capitalize on it.
Q. There was a play towards the end of practice today where you went on a long reception and scored a touchdown, high-five'd Daboll after that. Was there any kind of feeling with that play, particularly the reaction from your teammates, your feeling about, 'Hey, this is what I have been?'
SAQUON BARKLEY: It's not like a selfish way. Like I said earlier, it's more of just you seeing the plays and you seeing the creativity, and then you go out there and you capitalize on it or it works, you see it in the film. You know, it gets you anxious. You want to go, go, go, go, absorb everything, and go out there and try to do it all at once. But yeah, it puts a smile on your face. Not just because of, 'Oh, I scored a touchdown or it's me again,' it was more the creativity, the things that (Offensive Coordinator) Coach Kafka's saying or Dabs was saying, the mindset that everyone on the offense is starting to come alive. It's short, it's day two, day three of voluntary mini camp. Just got to stick with it and get one percent better every day.
Q. How would you describe the stamp that Dabs and Joe have put on this in the short period of time here? Any differences you feel as a group?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Just the energy. Just the energy in the building from everybody. From the lunch staff all of the way up to the top. When I came back, I was out training in San Diego, but when I came back to meet the coaches and just get familiar with everyone, you could just feel the energy was different in the lunchroom. It's going to be an exciting year. Obviously, we've still got a long way to go. Just enjoy it, day by day and get better.