'It would be a great story': Saquon Barkley on an Odell Beckham Jr. return to Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD – New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley smiled when the Dallas Cowboys’ public recruitment of Odell Beckham Jr. was brought up during his post-practice media session Friday afternoon.
Barkley saw the pitch to Beckham, currently a free agent, that was made by another former Penn State star Micah Parsons earlier this week, one that has been followed up by – among others – Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Asked why he hasn’t gone there yet and wooed Beckham on social media, Barkley replied with a smirk: “I don’t have to tweet at him.”
Barkley and Beckham, teammates with the Giants and close friends, were actually together last weekend, along with Sterling Shepard, to celebrate Beckham's 30th birthday. No sales pitch was necessary from Barkley and Shepard to Beckham – "he knows how we feel," Shepard told North Jersey.com, part of the USA TODAY Network on Friday – and with Giants general manager Joe Schoen entertaining the idea of jumping into the developing market for Beckham, the door for a return for No. 13 to Big Blue is ajar, however slightly.
“It’s New York. It’s the Giants,” Barkley said. “He has familiar faces within this facility and within this locker room. Personally I think it would be a great story to come back to the place where you were at before and continue to help build success and continue to come here with the right mindset and be a leader and be the type of player he can be for this team.”
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Beckham tore his ACL in the first half of the Super Bowl last February, on the biggest stage in a game during which he was making a strong bid to earn Most Valuable Player honors before the injury. His rehabilitation has continued over the first two-plus months of the season, and the expectation is that Beckham will be cleared to resume football activities over the next few weeks, perhaps even sooner.
Von Miller and the Buffalo Bills have courted Beckham, as have Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams. The Cowboys made their open pleas this week, and while Barkley did not
"He knows how I feel. He knows how we feel in this locker room," Barkley said of Beckham. "I’ve said before, he’s a heck of a player. I’m more just, not saying worried, just focused on him continuing attacking his rehab, get ready. He’s a special player. He’s still got a lot left in the tank. And I know how he is already with his mindset going at his rehab. When he’s able to come back, he’s going to show his skillset."
Whether that is with the Giants remains to be seen. For now, they'll attempt to keep their focus on Sunday's game against the Texans (1-6-1) in what Big Blue hopes is the beginning of a second half playoff push.
The last time the Giants made such a run, Beckham was the game-changer whose presence lifted them.
“Whatever decision he makes, it’s deeper than football,” Barkley said. “I just want the best for him. I could see him in any jersey. Obviously I would love to see him back on the New York Giants, but that’s up to him. I just hope for a healthy rehab, and when he comes back, show the world that he’s still Odell.”
Until Beckham makes his decision, as his friend once did, Barkley is well aware of the responsibility he has within this offense. If the Giants are to get back to the playoffs, Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones are the ones who will be counted on to take them there.
"It’s the second half of the season. We started off really good and we’ve got to continue to keep it going," Barkley said. "All of us need to step up and take it to another level."
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Saquon Barkley talks possible Giants reunion with Odell Beckham Jr