It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to characterize Giants running back Saquon Barkley’s days of late as bittersweet.
Sweet in that the 24-year-old is progressing in his rehab from a torn ACL suffered in Week 2 of last season, a process that puts him one day closer to returning to the field.
Bitter because for as upbeat as Barkley has tried to remain during this lengthy and unexpected journey, it hurts him when he often finds himself peeking out the window of the practice facility to see his teammates at work but knowing he can't join them just yet.
But Barkley, who has credited his friends, family, and teammates for their support as he continues authoring his comeback story, has been taking things in stride, knowing that being patient and not rushing himself back before he’s ready are going to be critical to his comeback.
“Yeah, I mean, I come in every single day just trying to work as hard as I can,” he said in his first public comments this year.
“Being patient, listening to the team, listening to the trainers and listening to the doctors. I'm out there, there's drills that you go through and you're just trying to see where you're at and there's some things that I do that I know that my rehab is going really well.
"There’s some things that happen that you know you've got to do a little more work and that's part of the rehab process. You have your ups and your downs physically and mentally.”
While most athletes coming back from a season-ending injury tend to aim for the start of training camp, neither Barkley nor head coach Joe Judge has been willing to attach a timetable to his return to the field.
“You know me, I'm going to take it one day at a time, come in with my head down and ready to work,” Barkley said. “There's nothing that's going to be forced for me to come back. It's going to be whenever my body tells me I'm ready and it will show when I'm ready to go, that's when I'll be able to go out there and be hopefully as good as I was before or even better.”
That doesn’t mean that it’s been easy for Barkley to be patient through the process.
“Yeah, it's tough -- again, it's tough because it's getting closer and closer. But at the end of the day, you've just got to continue to stay patient. This is helping teach me patience. When you're a dad and you have a little three-year-old girl running around the house, that teaches you patience, too,” he said.
“But also, when you have a sport that you love that’s taken away from you, you want to get back there as fast as you can obviously, but you have to be smart. At the end of the day I want to do the best for my team, not just for a short span but for a long time.”
Barkley declined to provide specifics regarding what he’s been able to do and what the team’s medical staff has held him out of doing, only saying that he’s committed to coming in every single day to work hard and listen to the trainers.
And to stay positive, which he admitted can be difficult when he was asked if he has any fear of all the work he’s put in so far not working out.
“No, it's not a fear, because at the end of the day, you know, just being out last year, or the ankle sprain the year before, I don't know if I've been hurt other than that, but I have just belief in that you can control what you can control," he said. "Both times that I've been so far in any NFL career were things that nothing I could have done to change.
“So, for me, I'm just going to continue to work, continue to rehab and try to control the things that I can control and go out there and play free. Just go out there and be 26 and be Saquon Barkley and be that big kid that loves the game of football and plays with a smile and plays for his teammates.”
More from Giants Country
- New York Giants QB Daniel Jones Shares Thinking on His Upcoming Season
- Joe Judge Provides an Update on Saquon Barkley's Rehab
- Giants to Hold Joint Training Camp Practices with Cleveland
- Daniel Jones Provides Encouraging Update Regarding Relationship with Kenny Golladay
- New York Giants Eyeing Quantum Leap for Offense in Year 2 Under Jason Garrett
Be sure to keep it locked on Giants Country all the time!