Giants: Sterling Shepard praises Saquon Barkley as a ‘special, generational talent’

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (3) and running back Saquon Barkley (26) celebrate Barkley's rushing touchdown in the second half
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants may be facing a disappointing season, but the exceptional performance of star running back Saquon Barkley has not gone unnoticed. Barkley has consistently displayed his talents, perseverance, and ability to thrive in challenging circumstances. As the Giants navigate through dark times, Barkley continues to shine as a bright light on the offense, offering hope for a stronger and more successful future.

Sterling Shepard praises Saquon Barkley as a ‘special, generational talent’

With an overall record of 2-8, Big Blue has had a tough season. The team’s poor performance has led to questions regarding leadership within the locker room. However, in a recent episode of “Talkin’ Ball with Pat Leonard”, WR Sterling Shepard spoke highly of Barkley, acknowledging him as a true leader.

“[Barkley] is the ultimate teammate. You know, he motivates. During the tough times, he’s the one that gets up and gives the speeches to the team, and every single word is felt. You can see how much heart and passion he plays with. There’s not too many people that can handle a coach coming in or somebody coming in and telling him, ‘Look you gotta take this game over,’ and then they go out and do exactly that. … Special. Generational Talent. There’s no other way to put it.”

Sterling Shepard on Talkin’ Ball’ with Pat Leonard

Barkley is making a case for a contract extension

Despite his exceptional performance in 2022, where he accumulated 295 carries for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns, as well as 57 receptions for 338 yards, Barkley was unable to secure a contract extension. This year, Barkley found himself under the franchise tag; an unconventional situation for a player of his caliber. Yet, he handled it with poise and professionalism, proving his commitment to the team both on and off the field.

Barkley’s impact on the Giants cannot be understated. Despite battling through an ankle injury, he continues to shine as one of the team’s key playmakers.

In the Giants’ Week 8 loss against the New York Jets, the offense relied heavily on Barkley, and he delivered. The star running back finished the game with a season-high 36 carries for 128 yards. Shepard’s praise resonates as it highlights the rarity of players who possess both the skill and mental strength to carry the weight of an entire game on their shoulders.

Despite being sidelined for three weeks due to injury, Barkley has amassed an impressive 139 carries for 568 yards and one touchdown this season. With his one-year, $10.1 million deal set to expire, Barkley is leaving it all on the field to prove his worth and secure his future with Big Blue.

Barkley wants to remain with the Giants for life

It is no secret that Barkley has expressed his desire to retire as a Giant, proving the truth of the saying “Once a Giant, always a Giant.”

Despite the team’s underwhelming season, it would be a missed opportunity for the Giants not to acknowledge Barkley’s profound impact both on the field and within the locker room. Not only is he an outstanding player, but he also exemplifies true leadership, paving the way for a brighter future for New York.

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