Around ten months after tearing his cruciate ligament, Saquon Barkley is fit again for the new season. At least that’s what he says about himself, his head coach Joe Judge sees it differently – and has to put the brakes on the running back.
“If I’m not cut out for it, I’ll just get shaped,” New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley wrote on Instagram a few weeks ago. The 24-year-old is eager to make his comeback to practice and feels ready.
Judge: “We can’t rush anything” – Barkley starts on PUP list
But head coach Joe Judge is putting the brakes on the running back, who was selected second overall in the 2018 draft. “He’s worked his butt off this offseason and he’s itching to get back out there. But we can’t rush anything, if we’re going to let him go out, we have to be sure he’s going to stick it out,” Judge told the Newsday portal.
Barkley is on the “Physically Unable to Perform” list for training camp, which starts on Wednesday. However, this does not mean that Barkley will not be able to participate in the training sessions. The status simply means he can sit out if necessary.
“He’s not ready yet,” Judge judges even if he is “very impressed” with his protégé’s offseason workouts. “There’s a difference between ‘looking good’ and ‘being good’ in terms of physical condition.” In doing so, Judge is referring to the many videos Barkley has shared with his followers on social media over the past few months.
Is it enough for week one?
Overall, Barkley is more than prone to injuries: He missed 17 of a possible 32 games in the NFL over the past two years, and a torn ACL has kept him out of action since September.
Whether Barkley will be the starter in the backfield behind quarterback Daniel Jones in week one remains to be seen. “We’re not going to ask any player to practice fully if they can’t practice fully yet,” said Judge, who is entering his second year as Giants coach.
So from his head coach, Barkley gets all the time in the world. Only whether he will give himself the time remains to be seen.