One day after Damon Harrison said he couldn’t wait to hit his New York Giants teammate Saquon Barkley, the rookie running back answered back to the statement.
“My response to [Harrison’s comments] is I am happy we are on the same team,” Barkley said on Wednesday. “He only gets to hit me maybe once or twice a year rather than a full game. Snacks is arguably one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL. I definitely have a lot of respect for him and how he carries himself as a vet. You could just watch him on the field. I am going to run away from that.”
Harrison, who should have been a Pro Bowl selection the last two years with the Giants (and truthfully the year before that when he was with the Jets), is a notorious competitor. Given his background having been cut from not just his high school football team, but also at the junior college level, Harrison takes nothing for granted. He is hard working and aggressive, something he expects from his teammates as well.
So, on Tuesday when Harrison said he was looking forward to hitting Barkley come training camp, no one took it as bad blood between the two players. Instead, it was Harrison wanting to make sure his teammate was ready for the NFL. In turn, there is no better way for Harrison to get ready for his third year with the Giants then to face an elite running back in practice and training camp.
Iron sharpening the proverbial iron.
Barkley will be asked to ignite a rushing offense that last year — and the year before that — was pretty bad. But with the addition of left tackle Nate Solder and guard Patrick Omameh in free agency, as well as second round pick Will Hernandez in the draft, the o-line should be able to finally do a better job at opening holes for Barkley and veteran running back Jonathan Stewart.
Barkley has shown well so far this offseason. He certainly has looked the part, being nicknamed “SaQuads” due to the jacked nature of his legs. He can add another dynamic to the offense as a receiving target out of the backfield as well. On Wednesday, Barkley lamented at some length his one dropped pass to date in offseason workouts and minicamp.
But in training camp, Barkley will surely be tested and pushed by Harrison. Though he’s a rookie and wet behind the ears, Barkley showed veteran savvy and smarts by saying he didn’t plan on testing Harrison’s strength.
“I don’t know anyone in this league that could run over Snacks,” Barkley said. “His name is Snacks for a reason.”