Sorry Green Bay Packers fans, but A.J. Dillon‘s run as the NFL’s “Quadfather” may be coming to an end. That’s right, Saquon Barkley is back, not only to place his bid amongst the league’s thick-thighed hierarchy but firmly put to rest the debate for best “tree trunks” in the game.
The New York Giants star running back is approximately nine months removed from undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL. Yet, if you weren’t in tune with the NFL landscape, Barkley’s activity on social media would certainly not tip its hat to an athlete whose lower body had been compromised.
To say the former NFL Rookie of the Year has been putting in work during his rehab would be an understatement. With comeback season in full swing for Barkley, the 24-year-old has kept his followers up to date with numerous strength and performance feats over recent months via both Instagram and Twitter. By the look of it, Barkley’s grind is undoubtedly paying off, as his most recent post — which Bleacher Report rightfully deemed “unreal” — has left the jaws of both football fans and bodybuilders alike unhinged.
*PSA – Those who regularly skip leg day (and even some who don’t) may find this photo offensive:
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Eli’s Got Jokes
If you want a good chuckle at some of the epic reactions to Barkley’s photo, feel free to browse the search term “Saquon Legs” on Twitter. Or, you could simply follow Giants legend Eli Manning for all the humorous takes you’ll ever need.
Since joining the social media platform back in May of 2020, the two-time Super Bowl champion has quickly sharpened his Twitter fingers. Whether it’s poking fun at himself or taking playful jabs at Tom Brady, Manning has become an instant must-follow for NFL fans.
As you could expect, the 40-year-old was quick to chime in on Barkley’s viral photo, begging the running back to “please stop photoshopping my legs onto your body.”
Barkley Cracks ESPN’s Top-10 RB Rankings
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is back with his top-10 positional rankings. With that said, Barkley has not returned to his first-place seeding from last season’s list.
After being limited to essentially five quarters of play in 2020 and just 15 games since 2019, Barkley has taken a sizeable dip among the running back pecking order. Still, his skill level remains too tantalizing for execs, coaches and players to simply push aside, placing the Giants playmaker at No. 6 in the 2021 rankings.
Barkley broke a tie with McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott for last year’s top spot because he had the most No. 1 votes by a wide margin. He still found his way atop a few ballots this year, but his recovery from a torn ACL is a concern. Having a big 2021 is hardly a slam dunk, at least early on, as running backs often need time to regain explosion. And Barkley wasn’t impressive in limited action in 2020, with 34 yards on 19 carries and an average of 0.84 yards per rush after first contact, worst among the top 10 on this list.
He is still an eye-test guy for many: Watch him play, how defenses assign four or five defenders to his every move, and you’ll understand. ‘Still has the rare combination of speed and explosion and size and elusiveness,’ an AFC scout said. ‘He’s kind of been a victim of a bad supporting cast. He does things as well or better than anybody on the list.’
The Giants added a few offensive playmakers this offseason, which should help take some of the focus off Barkley.
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