It’s been a long, winding road for Saquon Barkley in his attempt to get back to his dazzling rookie form.
He believes at this point he has his swagger and some much-needed trust in his knee back – along with some newfound versatility within a new-look offense.
“The biggest difference would be that you just had to go through the past couple of years, so it just helped mold, shape me to be the player I am right now and just coming into this camp, focusing on my body, working. on my body, doing all the little things necessary to keep my body healthy, “Barkley said Wednesday, via team transcript. “When you got that, when you trust your body, your confidence just grows. So I would say the difference was I was way more confident in college and early in my career than I was last year and last year. Then last year, now I’m starting to get that back, starting to get that swagger back.
“You can’t get too high on it because it’s just minicamp right now, but all the little stuff in gaining confidence here, in this break that we have, hopefully catapults and pushes me through the camp and into the regular season and beyond hopefully. “
Since running and catching his way to the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2018, Barkley has missed 21 of a possible 49 games. Most notably, he missed 14 games in 2020 due to an ACL tear, but missed last season with four contests with an ankle injury.
That aforementioned swagger is starting to return in large part because so much confidence Barkley has in his knee.
“I feel a lot better than I did at this point last year,” Barkley said. “I was rehabbing. My body feels good. My body feels strong. Feel like I got my strength back. Feel like I got my speed back. Feel like I can trust my knee again, trust myself to make plays and not think about it. Even when you feel like you trust yourself, like actually going back and watching the film, it correlates with how you feel and what you are actually seeing, putting out there on the field.
“So yeah, my body feels really good, but just got to keep it on. Got to keep going, got to keep pushing myself, keep working to get stronger, get faster, but also maintain strength and maintain healthy throughout this break. So I can come in at a high note for camp and for the season. “