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Giants' Saquon Barkley won't be shut down, refuses to blame injuries for struggles

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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley has been a shell of his former self since going down with a high ankle sprain earlier in the season. And while his rapid return is admirable, it’s clear he’s playing hurt and only injuring himself more (shoulder) by trying to tough it out.

Not only has Barkley become a liability on the ground, his pass protection is nearly non-existent at this point and rookie quarterback Daniel Jones is suffering as a result.

Despite it all, Barkley refuses to blame injuries for his struggles, telling reporters on Tuesday that’s just an excuse used by weak players.

“To say that I’m not healthy, that’s just an excuse. Everyone is banged up, everyone is going through something and I’m not going to let that be an excuse for why I’m not having a successful season,” Barkley said. “The reason I’m not having a successful season is because I’m not making enough plays for my team.”

There’s a reason Barkley has a “C” on his jersey, but that should also come with the wisdom that sometimes being tough and risking your body does more harm than good. The Giants aren’t going anywhere this season and absorbing that wear and tear only pushes the running back that much closer to retirement when considering the life cycle at the position is far short than any other position on the field.

Ultimately, Barkley refuses to give in and won’t allow the team to shut him down for the season.

“One, that’s not fair to my teammates and, two, when you say running backs have so many carries, yes, the average career length of a running back is not as long as other players,” Barkley said. “When I think of the great running backs who played, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Thomas Jones, Curtis Martin, Matt Forte, yes, they had injuries throughout their career, every position has injuries throughout their career. Those guys were able to withstand a bigger workload back in the day than what we have now. Yes, you might get 300 touches, but your 300 touches might come with 250 carries and 50 catches. Back in those days Walter Payton in his second year had like 347 carries in 14 games and was able to have a long career and a great career.

“I’m not saying I want to put myself up to those standards because they are the best to ever do it and Hall of Famers. The way they were able to carry that workload and be able to have a successful career is the way I know I want to operate. I know the other great running backs in this league want to do that, too. The mindset of sitting me out and resting me for the rest of the season is beyond me. I do not agree with it and it won’t happen. I’m going to keep going until I can’t go anymore. That’s the type of player I am and I’m going to do it for my teammates.”

Barkley is going to keep going until his physically can’t anymore… It’s admirable, but this is precisely why general manager Dave Gettleman got heat for selecting Barkley over quarterback Sam Darnold in 2018.

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