The rebirth of New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley
Three years ago, to prepare for its centenary, the NFL had produced an excellent music video, where about fifty players, former and current, improvised a match in the middle of a banquet. This strange meeting ended with a young man, ball in hand, tuxedo and bow tie, who gave way to the pack of opponents chasing him. Saquon Barkley was so in his element. The running back of the New York Giants had indeed just succeeded brilliantly in entering the NFL.
All-Star in his first year in the NFL
But Barkley, 25 today, had been a star for much longer. A native of the « Big Apple », it was in Pennsylvania that he grew up and began to shine in American football. From 2015 to 2017, he evolved with the university of Penn State, where, each season, he exceeded the bar of 1,000 yards in the race. Enough to make him a finalist for the trophy for the best university player, during his last year, and the second choice of the 2018 NFL draft by the New York Giants. A shame: in his childhood, Saquon Barkley supported the … New York Jets.
In addition, since their last Super Bowl victory in 2012, the Giants were hardly talked about. But Barkley will restore some light to the team. In his first game in the NFL, he cracked a touchdown from 68 yards and exceeded 100 yards on the run. Even if the New York franchise does not take off (only five wins), the Giants rookie ends the season with 1,307 yards, which makes him the No. 2 of the season and earns him a selection for the Pro Bowl. (1) and to be voted best rookie of the season (2).
(1) The NFL All Star Game.
(2) The NFL actually rewards two top starters per season: one on offense, one on defense.
Serious knee injury in 2020
The Barkley family discovers a new star. Saquon is none other than the great-nephew of Iran Barkley, a former boxer, titled in middleweight, super-middleweight and light-heavyweight. The 2019 season got off to a good start: he was named among the captains of the Giants, a very rare honor for a player who has only had one season with the pros. And, in his first game, Saquon Barkley, in just 11 races, swallows 120 yards. But the time comes for problems: he twists an ankle and misses three matches. His end-of-season stats remain correct but do not allow him to fly to the Pro Bowl this time.
However, this is nothing compared to what he will experience in 2020. His third NFL season ends after two games, following a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Last year, Barkley returned to the field, but for another way of the cross: sprained ankle, positive for Covid and above all physical poor shape and a lack of confidence, due to the serious injury of the previous season. Saquon Barkley only gained 593 yards while running. The NY Giants stuck to the bottom spots and the beautiful star that it was began to fade.
Second NFL runner this season
But during the off-season, the New York running back overcame his problems. And attacked the 2022 championship from the start. It was Tennessee who paid the price (21-20). Saquon Barkley galloped for 164 yards, his best performance in almost three years. New York has begun to smile again. By beating Carolina (19-16), the Giants won, for the first time since 2016, their first two games of the season. Barkley could not avoid defeat in Dallas (23-16) last Sunday, but he scored a splendid touchdown from 36 yards. He is currently the second rusher in the NFL with 317 yards (behind Cleveland RB Nick Chubb’s 341).
Sunday (7 p.m.), the New York Giants will host the Chicago Bears. The two teams have many things in common: a glorious but distant past, a promising start to the season and a running back in great shape (Khalil Herbert for the Bears). A tasty duel, where Barkley will try to shine again.