New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley might be a “generational talent,” but he needs to have some generational perspective.
The 22-year-old Barkley might feel indestructible, but pushing himself to grind through the remaining NFL season would be a terrible mistake for both him and the Giants.
Saquon Barkley is an elite athlete, and superstars don’t want to sit on the bench while their teammates go to war. Unfortunately, he must deal with several harsh realities that afflict all running backs, not just the special ones.
Firstly, Saquon’s ankle and shoulder don’t know he talented he is. An injury is an injury, and this is where the right people in the New York Giants organization must make it clear to him that the history books are filled with star backs cut short in their prime .
Given his history of ankle trouble, analysts have listed Barkley’s chance of re-injury as high as 55% . If you are Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, would you risk the future of your franchise on a coin-flip in a season where you are 2-8 ?
Another fundamental to consider is that even healthy running backs have a shelf-life (Buffalo’s Frank Gore aside).
Saquon Barkley might feel like he can run forever, but the hits and the snaps add up. The gradual accumulation of wear and tear weighs on durability and explosiveness.
Barkley should also recognize that his team’s season is over. If he ever wants to make a Super Bowl run – much less a trip to Canton – he needs to make sure that he is playing at his best in a season that counts.
The NFL is a fickle place, and it’s one thing to register 2,000 total yards rushing and receiving in a write-off season ; it’s another to do it during a playoff run.
The former Penn State standout needs to listen to the people around him and extend his career so he can be there to support rookie QB Daniel Jones as the Giants build their franchise for the future. He won’t be able to do that if he does permanent damage to his ankle rushing for 200 yards against the Miami Dolphins in Week 14, or the hapless Washington Redskins the following week.
Any NFL player worth their salt wants to be on the field at all costs, but Saquon Barkley’s production is simply too valuable a commodity to waste in embarrassing losses to the New York Jets .
If he wants to ensure maximum financial and athletic success, he should sit out for the rest of this season and get fully healthy. Will he do it? Good luck, Mr. Shurmur.