Eagles' Saquon Barkley 'forever grateful' for Giants fans

ByTim McManus ESPN logo
Thursday, March 14, 2024

PHILADELPHIA -- Running back Saquon Barkley is embracing his fresh start with the Philadelphia Eagles but spent time during his introductory news conference addressing his time with the New York Giants and the way things ended.

"The Giants fans that were hurt about me leaving, I've got nothing but respect for all those guys and all those ladies," he said. "The fans for the last six years have been great to me, to my family, created so many memories. I don't really think I handled it the right way on social media. I think I could have given a proper goodbye. Once I announced, everything kind of got hectic.

"But I'm forever grateful for the Giants fans, I'm so thankful for them, but unfortunately the NFL is a business, and I was able to get to a place that I know I can come here, I can compete, I can win, I can stay close to home, and I'm just happy I can be a part of this team."

The NFC East was shaken up in a major way when the Eagles agreed to terms with Barkley on a three-year, $37.5 million deal on the first day of free agency. Barkley amassed over 7,200 all-purpose yards and went to two Pro Bowls during his six seasons in New York.

Barkley, 27, played last season on an adjusted franchise tag that netted him $10.1 million after the two sides failed to reach agreement on a long-term deal. The Giants eventually elected against using the tag again this year at $12.1 million, which allowed him to hit free agency.

The Eagles swooped in. And while he acknowledged it was weird to see himself and his daughter in Eagles gear, Barkley said he was "super happy" to have a chance to stay close to home -- he grew up in Pennsylvania and is a Penn State alum -- and get beyond the business side of it.

"The last two years, I feel like so many people came up to me about me getting tagged or talking about a contract ... and now all of that is done. The business side is done, and we can keep the main thing the main thing," he said.

Barkley said that in some ways he feels like a rookie again and that there is benefit to getting a reboot at this stage of his career. He noted all the strong players he'll be working alongside, including quarterback Jalen Hurts and receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, and suggested he has productive years ahead of him entering his seventh NFL season.

"I feel like I'm a special player; I feel like I've got a lot left; and I feel like I've got a lot to prove," he said.

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