Fresh off a 152 rushing yard performance in Week 10, New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley was back at MetLife Stadium on Tuesday, November 15 for an even bigger purpose.
In an exclusive Q&A with reporters during the event, Barkley addressed the NFL’s ongoing grass vs. turf debate, and the Pro Bowl playmaker is all-in on making a positive difference for the players, and that means asking the league for safer fielding surfaces to play on.
“I’m all about protection and safety for the players,” Barkley told Heavy Sports. “Whatever way we can do that, if that’s changing the fields or anything — helmet (or) cleats — I’m all about that.”
Barkley knows all too well about suspect playing fields. In 2020, he suffered a torn ACL at Soldier Field in Chicago, which cost him the rest of that season. Soldier Field uses grass, but it is widely considered to be one of the worst grass fields in the entire league.
However, the use of turf fields has come under the scrutiny of NFL players this season. MetLife Stadium, home of the Giants and New York Jets, is one of six NFL stadiums to utilize ‘slit film’ turf, which has led to Giants players and their opponents complaining the surface has increased the number of injuries during games.
According to a report from ESPN’s Jordan Raanan on November 17, MetLife Stadium “is in the process of reviewing proposals to replace the current FieldTurf,” however the alternative would remain a synthetic surface, “not the natural grass that players have publicly called for in recent weeks.”
When the Giants lost their top wide receiver, Sterling Shepard, on that very same field for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL in Week 3, Barkley didn’t hold back on the non-contact injury at the time, saying, “Personally, I’m not really a fan of turf.”
Barkley continued his stance on turf when asked about teammate safeties Landon Collins and Julian Love recently tweeting their displeasure about playing on turf.
“I’m all about longevity. Not only at the NFL level, (but) from youth football all the way up. Whatever we can do to protect this game and protect the players. I feel like we should be able to do that,” Barkley said.
Barkley Speaks on Thanksgiving Matchup vs. Cowboys
After a home game against the Detroit Lions in Week 11 — for which Barkley says he’s “trying to come out there with a 1-0 mindset” — the Giants will hope to even the season series at one apiece against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. New York lost to Dallas 23-16 in Week 3. But after a Giants win on Sunday over the Houston Texans, the Cowboys dropped to third place in the NFC East after losing to the Green Bay Packers in Week 10.
Barkley knows it will be a tough task against the Cowboys’ defense and specifically Micah Parsons, who can line up anywhere.
“I speak very highly of Dallas and their team,” Barkley said. “I know Micah personally well. He’s a heck of a player. One of the best players in the NFL.”
It’ll be hard to slow Barkley down. The 25-year-old has rushed for over 80 yards in six of his first nine games in 2022 and is averaging 4.7 yards per carry — the highest mark since his rookie season (5.0 YPC) in 2018.
The Giants are 7-2 and Barkley is one of the main reasons why the team is on its way to a potential playoff run. The former first-round pick credits first-year head coach Brian Daboll and the rest of his coaching staff for helping not only himself but the whole offense this season.
“I think (Daboll) has done a great job not only for me, but for all of the players. And not just Dabes, but (Mike Kafka), (Bobby Johnson) and all of the offensive coaches have done a great job putting us in positions to be successful. We’re doing what we’re coached to do and go out and execute,” Barkley said.
Barkley’s Partnership With Courtyard Marriott
The Giants star runner was enticed by the opportunity to bring happiness to fans a week before Thanksgiving.
At “Fansgiving” on Tuesday evening, select fans won an opportunity to have a full VIP experience, which included meeting and catching passes from the star running back. There was even a fan Q&A with Barkley before dinner.
“I’m always about giving back,” Barkley detailed. “What they’re doing is amazing to be able to bring fans and their friends exclusive behind-the-scenes and exclusive access to MetLife Stadium.”
Courtyard by Marriot will also have another fan contest, this one tied to the Super Bowl. Now through November 18, fans can enter for the chance to be the first to wake up in State Farm Stadium in Arizona on Super Bowl Sunday as part of the Courtyard Super Bowl Sleepover contest, where the brand transforms a stadium suite into a Courtyard guest room for contest winners.