Tracy Morgan received mixed reviews on his performance Wednesday night as host of the ESPY Awards, with many taking to Twitter to vent their frustrations over his forced stand-up comedy routine. Truthfully, he probably had more misses than hits. But the shade Morgan threw at Saquon Barkley was precious.
Barkley, who won an ESPY Award for Best Breakthrough Athlete, was enjoying a front-row seat when Morgan saddled up next to him and told him he was in for a long season.
“I heard you can deadlift 600 pounds,” Morgan joked. “That’s good because you’re going to have to carry the Giants this year.”
The second-year running back laughed and took the jab in stride. It was said in jest, but it rings true. The Giants are coming off a 5-11 season and not much is expected of them in 2019. New York brings back an over-the-hill quarterback in Eli Manning and a porous offensive line, not an encouraging sight for the reigning rookie of the year. Barkley thanked the Giants organization for taking a chance on him.
“I want to give congratulations to all of the nominees. I respect all of you guys. You guys are all tremendous athletes,” Barkley said in his acceptance speech, via SNY TV. “I want to say thank you to the Giants organization for drafting me and taking a chance on me. I wouldn’t be able to play the sport I love without you guys, also.”
Barkley still racked up 1,307 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last season, along with 721 receiving yards and four scores through the air. He’s a stud, a generational talent who has been getting good odds to win NFL MVP. Barkley thanked the Giants organization for taking a chance on him.
Barkley Mentored Miles Sanders at Penn State
The Giants star was the starter at Penn State for three seasons before giving way to Miles Sanders in the backfield. The Eagles rookie stepped right in and rushed for 1,274 yards and nine touchdowns in his only year as the feature back. Philadelphia selected Sanders with the 53rd overall pick in the second round of the draft, with visions of Barkley dancing around Eagles fans’ heads.
While Barkley will be shooting for MVP, his former backup will be running for Rookie of the Year. Their college coach, James Franklin, stopped by Eagles minicamp earlier this summer and shed light on the two’s relationship.
“I remember Saquon, kind of all the time looking over his shoulder and saying to me ‘this guy’s got a chance to be special’, so we’ve been blessed and fortunate to work with him [Sanders], but we knew very early on that he had tremendous upside, tremendous potential, and his work ethic demeanor and drive is what sets him apart,” Franklin told Fran Duffy, via Fansided.
Sanders will combine with Jordan Howard in the Eagles’ backfield to form what people hope is a formidable rushing duo. Sanders has been nursing a lingering hamstring issue and missed OTAs and mandatory minicamp, but he told NFL Network he’ll be ready for training camp.
“Nobody is really going to be the starting running back,” Sanders said, via NFL.com.”I think the ball’s going to be spread out a lot, and that’s what I kind of like, too — just everybody getting a touch in the game and then just affecting the game in any type of way. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.”