Giants Pro Bowl running back Saquan Barkley said he was “tired” of the constant criticism surrounding his dip in production, while dismissing trade rumors as mere speculation.
“The story that’s going to be told — people are going to shape it the way they want it to be told,” the 24-year-old said at the team’s voluntary minicamp.
Barkley came to the Giants as the 2nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and quickly became a sensation, while rushing for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns in his rookie year, and setting several franchise records.
That phenomenal first-year performance gave fans of the Big Blue hope that he could be a clear top-tier offensive weapon for years going forward.
Unfortunately for the Penn State product, injuries hampered his next two seasons, as he missed 3 games in his sophomore season, before tearing his ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season, which caused him to miss the next 14 games.
Last year, Barkley played in 13 games, but managed only 593 yards and 2 touchdowns, while recording a mediocre 3.7 yards-per-attempt — frustrating fans who lamented his on-field downturn.
Making matters worse, the Giants have never had a winning record with Barkley on the roster.
For more coverage of Saquan Barkley and the Giants, head to amNY.com
Now, as the team enters the upcoming season with a new coach in Brian Daboll, as well as a new general manager in Joe Schoen, some observers have questioned whether Barkley has a future at MetLife Stadium, or if the team may look to trade him.
Ridding Barkley from the roster would also help alleviate the team’s cap space woes, as the Giants find themselves among the teams in the worst financial situations in the NFL.
For his part, Barkley brushed off the criticism, and the rumors, saying he was focused on producing on offense.
“To be honest, I’m just tired of whatever is written about me,” he told reporters. “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.”
The phenom also lamented what he saw as the media’s hyping-up the possibility of a trade.
“To be honest, I felt like that was more of just word of mouth, the media kind of created a story,” he said. “I didn’t really take it like that to be completely honest.”
As for his injuries, Barkley said he feels “a lot better.”
“I feel like myself again,” he said.