Report: Giants' Saquon Barkley Won't Play vs. Bears in Preseason as Precaution

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 16, 2019

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) practices with teammates at the NFL football team's training camp in Thursday, July 25, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The New York Giants are keeping Saquon Barkley out of their Week 2 preseason game against the Chicago Bears Friday night, according to NFL Network's Kimberly Jones

"Not surprised," Jones noted. "And smart move by [the] Giants, considering how valuable he is to this team."

The 22-year-old running back didn't play in New York's preseason opener, either, a 31-22 win over the New York Jets.

"[Barkley] said earlier this week he always wants to play football," ESPN's Jordan Raanan added. "But coach Pat Shurmur knows his value and might not risk it at all this preseason."

A team choosing to protect its star player from preseason action isn't anything out of the ordinary. The Giants can't afford to lose Barkley, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year who took over as the team's most explosive offensive asset following Odell Beckham Jr.'s trade to the Cleveland Browns. 

Even with Beckham still in New York last season, Barkley's preeminent impact on the Giants was evident through 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns on 261 rushes through 16 games as well as 721 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver.

While Barkley's sidelining is just precautionary, the Giants have already seen the cautionary tale play out through injuries to their receiving corps in training camp. Sterling Shepard fractured his thumb, and Corey Coleman tore his ACL during the same July 25 practice.

On top of that, Golden Tate will open the regular season serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substances policy.

Without Barkley in the backfield against the Bears, the Giants can continue testing out the likes of Wayne Gallman and Rod Smith as they did last week.

The Giants and Bears will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET from MetLife Stadium.