While Barkley is on track to return in time for the 2021 season, he admits that initially, he struggled to cope with the situation.
“When I hurt my knee, I’m not going to lie, that’s probably the weakest moment of my life, especially in those first few days,” Barkley said. “I just couldn’t control myself crying, asking ‘Why me? Why me? Why me?”
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Barkley: ‘Adversity Makes the Weak Weaker & the Strong Stronger’
Barkley being transparent on the topic is nothing new of late. The former No. 2 overall pick has commonly peeled back the curtain to divulge on his dejected attitude following the first serious injury of his playing career. A recent guest on the AP Pro Podcast, Barkley detailed what head coach Joe Judge told him shortly after that dreadful moment against the Chicago Bears.
While chatting with Tyson, Barkley also credited his position coach Burton Burns for lighting a fire underneath him.
“This is a saying that Coach Burns is always telling me,” Barkley recalled. “It happened, so, like you [Tyson] said, adversity makes the weak weaker and makes the strong stronger. You have to pick and choose what side you want to be on.”
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Barkley on Returning to 100% Following Injury
Barkley is in the thick of his rehab and putting all his efforts to be the best version of himself moving forward. With that said, Barkley realizes that not every running back has been able to recapture their pre-injury form following a torn ACL. While the 2018 NFL Rookie of the Year doesn’t expect to be bunched in that category, he knows that his work ethic will leave him stripped of any regrets either way.
“No matter what, if I came back and things didn’t go the way I don’t envision it going, which I can’t see that because that’s the way I envision it, but I know I’m going to do everything necessary to put myself in the right position, in the smart way and the right way, to come back better,” Barkley said. “If it’s not in the cards for me to me to do it, at least I know I can look myself in the mirror and know I put in the work ethic and I did the little things and all the things that matter to try to make myself become one of the best to do it.”
Barkley, who turned 24-years-old this month, has appeared in just 15 of his possible 32 games since his monster rookie campaign when the then-rookie led the entire NFL in yards from scrimmage with 2,028.
The running back is eligible for a contract extension for the first time in his career this offseason. Co-owner John Mara has already publically voiced his desire to keep his star playmaker in East Rutherford “for a long time.” As for Barkley, his future earnings are the least of his worries at the moment. In his words, “I’m really just focusing on getting this knee ready because I want to be the best player I can be.”
If the latter end of that statement pans out, a deserving payday will almost certainly work itself out.
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