Saquon Barkley on ACL Rehab, The Resurgent Giants and His Favorite NFL RBs

The star tailback fills us in on what he's been up to since a season-ending injury in Week 2

How Saquon Barkley Is Using a Torn ACL to His Advantage
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley looks on during a game.
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During a 17-12 upset win over the Seahawks in Week 13, five New York Giants players combined to rush the ball for 190 yards and a touchdown against the Seattle defense, averaging 6.1 yards per carry on 31 totes.

If you woke up from a yearlong coma and looked at that box score, you’d probably assume star running back Saquon Barkley — who nearly rushed for that many yards (189) himself during a win over Washington in 2019 — was responsible. But the 23-year-old didn’t even make the trip to Seattle, as he’s still rehabbing from a torn ACL that ended his 2020 season back in Week 2.

While he may not have been there in body, Barkley tells InsideHook he was certainly with his teammates in spirit.

“I’ve never experienced this. I missed a couple of games last year because of an ankle injury, but it’s definitely different when you know you’re most likely not coming back. That definitely hurts,” Barkley says. “But I still love the game and am just as invested whether I’m in Seattle or watching on the couch, screaming at the TV. When we make big plays and the game is close, I’m still feeling that same sense of urgency as if I was on the sideline. I’m just so proud of those guys. We’ve won some games, but the job’s not done. We have to continue to get better every single day and finish the season strong.”

How Saquon Barkley Is Using a Torn ACL to His Advantage
Saquon Barkley battles with Chicago Bears defensive tackle John Jenkins.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Watching the Giants play is just one of the things Barkley has been doing to keep himself busy during his time away from the team. Another? Teaming up with Gillette to create 100 limited-edition custom razors that will be available for free this holiday season as part of a benefit for Covenant House NJ, an organization the young RB works very closely with.

“It’s clean. It’s cut. It’s not crazy fancy,” Barkley says of the razor. “You can see the passion within the detail. That kind of describes who I am and the way how I like to do things, whether it’s football, fashion, or just life. I never imagined having my own razor, but it’s truly amazing to be able to have one and that Gillette is donating $26,000 to Covenant House, an organization I’m passionate about, is truly amazing.”

Barkley is also passionate about using his time away from the football field to help improve himself as a player in advance of getting back.

“I’m definitely watching way more football than I have in the past couple of years,” he says. “I’ll watch other backs, whether it’s Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara or Christian McCaffrey, and try to learn from their games. There are so many guys, especially at the position I play, who are tremendous players. To be able to watch them and take some of their game and add it to my game is definitely important. I’m still trying to take the student approach to the game. There’s going to be something from this season that I’m going to be able to take and it’s going to be able to help me, whether it’s next year or the rest of my career.”

Instead of looking at the injury as a negative, Barkley — who is rehabbing for up to five hours per day and plans to be ready for training camp in August — is trying to view it as a positive.

“That’s the only way I can look at it,” he says. “It happened. Everything was meant to happen for a reason. With the help of my family, friends and loved ones pushing me, and also the self-drive I have within myself, I just have to find a way to come back from this and be stronger.”

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