After missing yesterday’s practice due to a personal matter, Barkley returned to the field and got some critical work in during today’s joint session with the New England Patriots. The fourth-year pro donned a red non-contact jersey and took reps in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
According to reporters on the scene, Barkley had four reps in each period, catching a short pass for a touchdown in 7-on-7s and grabbing two receptions in full team work.
“It felt good. It’s just fun to be able to play football again,” Barkley said after practice, via NJ.com. “I feel like a little kid.”
Barkley looked “natural” in today’s action, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. Giants head coach Joe Judge has reiterated that the team will continue to ease the former No. 2 overall pick back in as he gets healthier.
Saquon Barkley said he “felt good” after his first taste of live drills post-injury. Had 8 live reps, three catches. Looked natural. Hates the no-contact red jersey but naturally wasn’t thinking about making contact. “Really didn’t think about it at all,” he said. Excellent sign.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) August 26, 2021
It is unclear if Barkley will play at all in Sunday’s preseason finale, and the Giants have been noncommittal about his availability in Week 1.
Judge did make it clear that he wants to see his star running back get hit a little bit before he actually plays in a regular season game.
“I think every player has to have physical contact and experience the hits they’re going to take in a game before it becomes live, full speed in the regular season,” Judge said. “The reality is, the speed of the game increases from preseason to regular season to postseason. That’s just what happens. For us to put a player on the field without preparing him either through practice or preseason games without contact, we’re putting that player in danger and at a disservice.”