How Saquon Barkley can keep being the ‘monster’ Giants unleashed

Jaclyn Hendricks


By Jaclyn Hendricks
nypost.com

Former Giants running back Rashad Jennings summed up his reaction to Saquon Barkley’s dominant Week 1 performance in just two words.

“Love it,” Jennings, 37, expressed repeatedly to The Post on Thursday. “I want to see [the Giants] win. I want to see them get in the playoffs. I want to see them have an above .500 record at least.”

Though the regular season is one week old, the Giants did check off a box on Jennings’ wish list following Sunday’s thrilling finish in Tennessee, where a missed field goal from the Titans’ Randy Bullock sealed New York’s first 1-0 start since 2016.

While head coach Brian Daboll earned a game ball afterward, thanks in part to a gutsy two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter, Barkley’s swift resurgence had fans in awe. The 25-year-old running back, who is two seasons removed from a torn ACL, recorded 164 rushing yards and a touchdown, in addition to six receptions for 30 yards.

Jennings is “hopeful that the world gets the chance” to see more game-day heroics from Barkley, who was also plagued with injuries during the Giants’ dismal 4-13 campaign in 2021.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley carries the ball against the Titans on Sept. 11, 2022.
AP
Giants running back Saquon Barkley (#26) celebrates after making a touchdown against the Titans on Sept. 11, 2022.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley (#26) celebrates after making a touchdown against the Titans on Sept. 11, 2022.
AP

“He’s a hard-working guy,” said Jennings, who spent eight years in the league before calling it a career in 2017.

“Sometimes little soft-tissue [such as ligaments, muscles, and tendons] issues can jump up on you, especially coming from college, you’re so beat up. Enter into the league, and I think you can take care of your body a little bit more. He’s probably eating right, sleeping right, doing all the little things. I think he could possibly stay away from the soft-tissue issues. He is a monster and I’m hopeful that the world gets the chance to see that this year.”

Jennings — who is behind the new sports business podcast, “The Bag with Rashad Jennings and Lindsay McCormick” — has nothing but fond memories from his time in New York, where he played from 2014-16.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning hands the ball to running back Rashad Jennings in Sept. 2016.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning hands the ball to running back Rashad Jennings in Sept. 2016.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Giants running back Rashad Jennings (#23) runs the ball against the Eagles in Dec. 2016.
Giants running back Rashad Jennings (#23) runs the ball against the Eagles in Dec. 2016.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Rashad Jennings participated in "Dancing With the Stars" following his NFL retirement.
Rashad Jennings participated in “Dancing with the Stars” following his NFL retirement.
Getty Images

“Just the fans, the city, the smell of championship,” Jennings said of his “special” time with the organization, which boasts four Super Bowl titles.

“I believe, personally, another reason why I was able to go on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ [which he won in 2017], and do all the other things I was able to do in life [is] because of that ‘NY’ on the side of my helmet. I have a tremendous about of respect, and honor them, for allowing me to play with the ball club.”

The Giants host the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.

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