Saquon Barkley takes big leap towards NY Giants return

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

NY Giants running back Saquon Barkley returned to full-team drills, making a significant step towards stepping back on the field in the season opener

Saquon Barkley took his biggest leap towards returning in time for the NY Giants’ season opener against the Denver Broncos, when he returned to full-team drills during Thursday’s joint practice in New England with the Patriots.

While Barkley was wearing a red non-contact jersey during the two-minute drill period he was able to participate in, he caught a pair of passes.

More importantly, Barkley says that while he knew he wasn’t going to get hit, it felt natural to have the ball back in his hands.

"“We’re at the point where I’m allowed to start taking team reps and those steps are going to happen naturally,” Barkley told reporters in Foxboro. “Especially throughout a couple more weeks coming up. You know me, as a player I want to go out there and make plays and especially in those situations when it’s two minute and it’s our team versus their team. Those things are going to come naturally, and I’ve just got continue to be patient and when I have the opportunities, take advantage of them.”"

It has been a slow, and cautious ramp up for Barkley, who was activated from the PUP list on August 9 and mostly been limited to individual drills in the weeks that followed.

From the sounds of it, Barkley is going to get more opportunities in the coming days and two weeks leading up to the Sept. 12 clash with the Denver Broncos to open the season.

The next step, in all likelihood during the practices in between Sunday’s preseason finale against the Patriots at MetLife Stadium and Week 1, is for Barkley to get popped in practice … by his teammates.

“I definitely want to get hit again,” Barkley told reporters. “To me, it’s not just the hitting, it’s just playing football.”

The next hit Barkley takes will be the first since tearing his ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign, but from the sounds of it, the star running back will be leaping, juking, and dodging contact from defenders in no time. Perhaps, it seems, in time for the NY Giants’ opener.

Matt Lombardo is FanSided’s National NFL Insider and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday. Email Matt: