Saquon Barkley hears the doubters.
And he's out to prove them wrong.
The New York Giants running back appeared on The 2ndWind Podcast and said he has even more motivation for the upcoming 2022 campaign with so many people counting him out (h/t Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News):
"Do I feel like I'm back? I feel like I'm better. To be completely honest. I'm older now. I'm 25. I've been through some stuff, ups and downs. And now I'm in a situation where—you know me, I always have a mindset of always being counted out—but now it's actually here. It's actually real. People are really counting me out. People are trying to write me off.
"And I don't really do it for the pleasure of others or making other people satisfied. I do it because I just want to be great. But now I have that extra motivation, the extra motivation to push me to go out there and kinda just be like you know what, shut everyone up.
"Cause last year was more like dang, the game was taken away from me. I'd never had a season where I didn't go play football. Now it's kill mindset. Now it's like, ya know what, f--k everybody. I'm ready to go crazy, and I'm gonna let the world feel me."
Barkley hinted at it, but this is not a type of situation like Michael Jordan explaining on the Last Dance that he made up slights to motivate himself. It truly is fair to have some reservations about Barkley's ceiling at this point.
While he appeared well on his way to long-term superstardom as the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowler in his first season, that has been the best campaign of his career by far.
He tallied 1,307 rushing yards, 721 receiving yards and 15 total touchdowns as a rookie but saw those numbers drop to 1,003 rushing yards, 438 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns in his second year.
Barkley then suffered a torn ACL that limited him to two games in 2020 and posted a measly 3.7 yards per rush in 13 games last season.
The Penn State product seemed to lack the explosiveness that defined the early portion of his career, and it didn't help that he wasn't exactly surrounded by the league's best roster on the 4-13 Giants.
If his comments are any indication, he likely feels healthier further removed from his injury. He is also still just 25 years old and theoretically in the middle of his prime.
That could lead to a bounce-back season for Barkley.