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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is sick of the commentary about whether he can return to that All-Pro player he was during his rookie campaign.
Barkley put his doubters on blast in a recent podcast interview while having a clear vision as to what he wants to prove during the 2022 NFL season.
“Last year was more like, ‘Dang, the game was taken away from me.’ I never had a season where I didn’t go and play football. Now, it’s a kill mindset,” Barkley said in an appearance on the “2nd Wind” podcast. “Now it’s like, you know what? F— everybody. I’m ready to go crazy and imma let the world feel me.”
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Barkley has been ravaged by injury the last three seasons, with his torn ACL in 2020 being the most damaging of them all as he played just two games that season.
Heading into the 2021 campaign, Barkley still didn’t look like himself. But after a solid Week 4 against the Saints in New Orleans, some believed he had turned a corner. Then he suffered an ankle injury against the Dallas Cowboys that shut him down for four weeks.
The effects of that injury looked to be felt even when he returned, as Barkley totaled just 593 yards on 162 rush attempts last season, scoring only one touchdown in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Chargers post-injury.
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But Barkley said earlier this offseason that he feels much better than he did at the same point in 2021. In fact, he took it a step further on the podcast as well.
“Do I feel like I’m back? I feel like I’m better to be completely honest,” he explained. “I’m older now. I’m 25. I’ve been through some stuff. Ups and downs. Now I’m in a situation where you know me? I’ve always had the mindset I’ve been counted out. But now, it’s actually here. It’s actually real. People are really counting me out. People are really trying to write me off.”
Barkley is playing on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, which means he’ll become a free agent once the season is over unless he and the Giants work out an extension.
Having an uncertain future is motivation enough for the Penn State product, but Barkley will use the words of others as the cherry on top.
“I don’t really do it for the pleasure of others or making other people satisfied. I do it just because I want to be great,” he said. “But now I have that extra motivation to push me to go out there and shut everyone up.”
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Barkley’s revenge tour will begin on Sept. 11 against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1.