Saquon Barkley’s return to action with the New York Giants was hardly anything to write home about.
In his first game in nearly one calendar year after recovering from a torn ACL, Barkley appeared in 28 offensive snaps, accruing 27 total yards on 10 rush attempts and one reception.
Not necessarily the statline that was commonplace during his first two professional seasons, but a huge accomplishment for the 24-year-old, regardless.
“When I woke up today, I had no nerves. At the end of the day, it’s football,” Barkley said after the Giants’ 27-13 Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos. “If anything, it was more excitement, just happy to be back out there. I know I put a lot of hard work — blood, sweat, and tears — just to get to this moment and come out healthy out of this game.
“It happened. I hit that milestone. I was happy I was able to play in Week 1. That was a goal of mine, to get out there and help my team win. Now it’s actually getting out there and helping my team win.”
The outing was also a relief for head coach Joe Judge, who played it slow and steady with Barkley’s rehab — ensuring that he wouldn’t see live-action until joint practices with the New England Patriots during the final week of the preseason.
“I saw a lot of energy, he was moving well. We thought there were some opportunities we thought we could create for him,” Judge said. “In terms of the step forward for him for the first time on the field since last year, I was pleased with what I saw.”
While Giants fans will hope Barkley’s influence on the offense expands as the season progresses, Week 2 provides the challenge of a quick turnaround. The Giants are in Landover, MD on Thursday night for a primetime matchup against the Washington Football Team.
“Right now I’m going to go home and see how my knee responds,” Barkley said of his chances of playing in just a few days. “Take it day by day.”