Giants Rumors: Saquon Barkley 'Eager' to Return from Injury; NYG 'Cautious About' RB

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 11, 2021

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 20: New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) looks on in action during a game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants on September 20, 2020 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is reportedly "eager" to get back on the field after suffering a season-ending ACL tear in 2020.

Appearing Sunday on SportsCenter, ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler said Barkley has "made a lot of progress" and is "moving very well" ahead of training camp.

Even so, he noted that the Giants are taking a cautious approach with Barkley so as not to risk him suffering further injury before the 2021 regular season commences.

Given how eager Barkley is, however, Fowler added that the talented running back could "eventually push coaches to make a decision on his availability."

The 24-year-old seemed poised for a big year in 2020, but his season was cut short after just two games because of a torn ACL, forcing the Giants to take a committee approach with their running game for the remainder of the campaign.

In 2019, Barkley missed three games and was limited in another because of a high ankle sprain, which prevented him from replicating the monster numbers he put up as a rookie.

Even with the former Penn State star missing time, he still managed 1,003 yards and six touchdowns with an average of 4.6 yards per carry to go along with 52 receptions for 438 yards and two scores.

Barkley was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, and he didn't disappoint as a rookie, putting up gaudy stats en route to being named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

He enjoyed one of the best seasons ever by a rookie running back, rushing for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns in addition to catching 91 passes for 721 yards and four more touchdowns.

Barkley is one of the most complete running backs in the NFL when healthy, and he is especially important to the Giants' offensive success since there are some major question marks surrounding their passing game led by quarterback Daniel Jones.

While New York has some depth in the backfield, it doesn't have another running back on the roster capable of dominating a game like Barkley.

Until Barkley is able to take on starting reps, veteran Devontae Booker is the top candidate to replace him after getting fairly consistent playing time with the Las Vegas Raiders last season and the Denver Broncos earlier in his career.

The Giants could also look to give Elijhaa Penny, Corey Clement or rookie sixth-round pick Gary Brightwell some additional work.

New York is set to begin training camp July 27 with its first preseason game against the New York Jets on Aug. 14 and its first regular-season game against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12.