RB Saquon Barkley
June 8, 2022
Q. How did it feel to get your degree?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Oh, it felt good. I was not expecting that to be the first question, but it feels really good. It's something I wanted to accomplish, something that I had to make a promise to my mom, my dad, when I had the conversation with Coach Franklin that I'm going to leave school early, he made me promise that I'll come back and get my degree, too.
Been banged up a little bit over the year, so I had a little extra time on my hands that I probably wouldn't have liked, but I was able to accomplish that and get my degree.
Q. Did you tell your daughter? I know that was one of the main initiatives.
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, she can't really understand that right now yet, but when she gets older it will make a little bit more sense to her. But not just my daughter, my nieces, my nephews, brothers and sisters, my whole family. They're excited for me and happy that I was able to accomplish that, and I'm thankful for all of them.
Q. How excited are you in this new offense? Julian just said that it looks like you'll be utilized more and more. How excited are you to be in this offense?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I'm very excited. I think this offense is going to put our playmakers in position to make plays, whether it's post-snap, pre-snap, just giving us looks so we can good out there and let our talent go and work. I'm excited not only for myself but for all the playmakers on this team, for the offensive line, for the team in general. I feel like we have something special here, but like I said, like I always say, got to take one day at a time, can't look too far in the future, and now finish up minicamp and this little break that we have, make sure that we can capitalize on this break to catapult us and put us in the best position for the season and coming into camp.
Q. How helpful is it when you go against the defense and they have to kind of play "where's Saquon"?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I think it's helpful, not only for myself but opening up other things for the offense. That's something that I've been aware is kind of more -- haven't really moved like this since college. Kind of went back and watched a little bit of my college stuff to see stuff that I was able to do there and transition, bringing it here.
I'm excited. Dabs, Kaf, all the guys on the offense, all the coaches, they've been doing an amazing job this camp, and we're just going to take it one day at a time.
Q. Were you good in college?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I was alright in college. I was okay in college.
Q. Will there be anywhere that we will not see you? We know you'll be in the backfield, you'll be in split. Are there places you haven't even been before that they're using you in those places now?
SAQUON BARKLEY: No. I mean, I've been -- pretty much every place I've been so far, I've been there before. Just I've got to learn a lot more, got to know a lot more. Obviously don't want to give too much details, but just trying to learn the playbook, trying to learn the offense, understanding not just running back position but just if I'm out there, if I'm wide or inside or wherever I'm at, learn that position so that when I'm out there I don't got to think, I can go out there and react and play fast and try and help the team out.
Q. When you think back to your rookie year, you had some really good numbers. Do you think more 1,307 or 91? What do you look at and say, I like that better? The 91 receptions really was something that --
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, I think it was cool. Anytime for me -- I feel like whenever I can get the ball in space, I feel like that's where I'm at my best. I feel like no matter what, I feel like I've got the confidence now whether it’s in between the tackles, outside tackles, out wide or whatever, especially when you have confidence in your body again. I feel like I'm capable of helping the team, but especially in space.
You know, however it is, whether it's 91 catches, whether it's less than that, whether it's more than that, the main thing is more (wins). That starts with the little things and that starts with right now, finishing minicamp real strong and that little six-week, seven-week period that we have, capitalizing on that and getting my body in shape and getting ready for camp and regular season.
Q. When we see you out here, you're catching. We see you catching a lot more passes. Do you sense that that's something that is going to translate, or is it that's just -- 7-on-7 at times, is it that, or do you expect an uptick in your usage kind of as a receiver?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I'm not really expecting anything. Like you said, it's more of a passing camp, so I'm probably moving around a little bit more. But just in case if that is the game plan or the goal for me this year, to go out there and catch the ball a little bit more, I've got to be ready for it. It starts here. It starts here in minicamp, and as I said, going into this little break that we have, getting with Daniel, getting with quarterbacks and just working on my hands, working on that part of the game so I can be versatile.
I feel like the more versatile you can be as a player, the more helpful you can be to your team, and I want to help this team win games.
Q. When you look at yourself in college, is there growth? What have you seen from watching yourself in college? When was the last time you watched your college tape?
SAQUON BARKLEY: It's been a long time since I've looked at some of my college film, but yeah, obviously you can see the growth, maturity.
Q. What's the biggest difference, I guess?
SAQUON BARKLEY: The biggest difference would just be you had to go through a little bit the past couple years, so it just helped mold me, shape me to be the player I am right now and just coming into this camp, focusing on my body, working on my body, doing all the little things necessary to keep my body healthy. When you've got that, when you can trust your body, your confidence just grows. So I would say the difference was I was a way more confident player in college and early in my career than I was prior to the last year and then last year. Now I'm starting to get that back, starting to get that swagger back.
You can't get too high on it because it's just minicamp right now, but all the little stuff in gaining confidence here, in this break that we have, hopefully catapults and pushes me through camp and to the regular season and beyond hopefully.
Q. How do you feel physically? The injuries have been a thing the last couple years. Last year at this time of year you were still rehabbing.
SAQUON BARKLEY: Right.
Q. How do you feel out there? Do you feel like --
SAQUON BARKLEY: I'll tell you, I feel a lot better than I felt at this point last year. Like you said, I was rehabbing. My body feels good. My body feels strong. Feel like I got my strength back. Feel like I got my speed back. Feel like I can trust my knee again, trust myself to make plays and not think about it. Even when you feel like you trust yourself, like actually going back and watching film, it correlates with how you feel and what you're actually seeing, putting out there on the field.
So yeah, my body feels really good, but just got to keep on it. Got to keep going, got to keep pushing myself, keep working to get stronger, get faster, but also maintain the strength and maintain being healthy throughout this break so I can come in at a high note for camp and for the season.
Q. Did you sit down with the coaches this offseason and did they ask you what you like to do, what you want to do and did they take that into consideration?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, I mean, they definitely sat down with me and asked me the things that I liked to do and what I feel like I do best and what I need to improve on, all that good jazz. Like I said, it's so early right now. That's more down the road when it gets into when you're game planning and getting ready and preparing for a team. Right now just really focusing on just learning the basics, getting back to the fundamentals, learning the offense and putting yourself in the right position to be able to make plays, so when we come back in camp that it's not like you're sitting down and you're seeing it for the first time, that it's the second, third time, becomes secondhand to you so you can go out there and play fast.
Q. About the two first-round picks, I'm curious, from a football perspective, what do you think when they drafted an offensive lineman and what was your reaction to Evan Neal, and off the field Kayvon Thibodeaux kind of has that star persona that you came here with. I'm curious if you've given him any advice about juggling football with the other stuff that comes with being a star in New York.
SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, with Neal, with Evan, selfishly as a running back, anytime you draft a guy like that, it's going to put a smile on your face. I kind of met him, I think I’ve told you guys this before. I didn't meet him, he was coming in for like a visit or something like that, and he was walking through, and I was just like, golly, who is that; we need that guy on our team.
Thankfully we were able to draft him, so I'm really excited for him to be on our team and what he's going to be able to do and help this team in the future.
With Kayvon, I've had conversations with him. Biggest thing I told him is never get too low on the lows and never get too high on the highs. That is what it is. Whether you play 20 years, 10 years, no matter what, there's going to be peaks and there's going to be valleys. Your valleys never stay too low, and when you're at your peaks, never get too high, always try and stay like this, just straight, and keep your mindset, keep your focus where it needs to be. At the end of the day, put football first and everything will take care of itself.
Q. What did you make of how light today's practice was? Would you rather get more work in, or is that something that's good for the team that you'd like to see more of?
SAQUON BARKLEY: I feel like Coach does a really good job of listening to the players, listening to the staff and understanding we've been grinding. We've been going since April 4th. I can't even do that math that quick. I know I got my degree, but I don't know how long that's been. But we've been grinding for a little bit.
The training staff, the strength staff are doing a great job with all the players, and if he felt like we could chop the practice down, I feel like that means as players we've been doing a really good job of giving him the confidence to do that and also of him just understanding and listening to personnel, listening to everyone in the building, where we need to be and where our bodies are.
Q. You've been through so much the last couple of years, and the numbers are down from your rookie season. Is there something inside you that says, guys, if you counted me out, don't do it, I'm back? Do you scream that?
SAQUON BARKLEY: No. Like I said before, it's really early, so I can't make too many predictions for the future. But it is what it is.
I think I said it before, when the tables turn, just make sure you're on the side of that table. Just stay on that side.
It is what it is; never get too low, never get too high. Stay like this and just keep working.