That sound you hear is the New York Giants exhaling, considering they just [finally] got some very good news in training camp. After a rash of unfortunate headlines that included a practice brawl and a rash of players retiring -- after having just signed their contracts, no less -- the Giants' biggest story of the offseason remains the status of Saquon Barkley. And while it's still unknown if the Pro Bowl running back will be ready to begin the regular season, he's set to take a massive step in that direction — the Giants having now activated him from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Monday, the team announced.
Speaking from camp last week, head coach Joe Judge remained noncommittal on when this might happen.
"We're going to have conversations on a daily basis about his rehab and conversations on a weekly basis at times on where we think he is coming up," Judge said. "In terms of the timetable, I'm not a doctor. I let the medical team tell me a guy is good to go and put him on the field, I know he's good to go. In terms of a player like Saquon and a timetable coming back, he's making daily progress.
"I know it sounds like a broken record, but that's important for us to see coming off an injury like this. You want to make sure that it's not push forward and take a step back."
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Well, it appears there have been no steps back, but instead only forward, as the Giants look to welcome the former second-overall pick back to the field at some point in the next few days. Of course, you can likely scratch Barkley from participating in any preseason contest, but instead setting the stage to knock off rust from having not played football since Sept. 20, 2020, when he was carted off of the field against the Chicago Bears with a torn ACL.
Nearly one year later, he's now seen his fifth-year option exercised by the team but it's also come with an ice-cold approach to any potential contract negotiations -- with owner John Mara making it clear the Giants are "in no hurry" to open talks and they'll do so "at the appropriate time."
Contrarily, Mara also noted he "expects him to be here for a very long time," but the Giants are obviously tying contract talks to Barkley's health and ability to remain on the field in 2020. And now that he's ready to put his helmet back on, the path to attempt to regain his dominance while also driving his financial value north again officially begins.
The club also activated Oshane Ximines from the PUP list along with Barkley, a talented pass rusher who delivered 4.5 sacks and five tackles for loss in his rookie season (2019) before missing all but three starts in Year 2 due to an injured shoulder that eventually landed him on season-ending injured reserve. Ximines rejoins a Giants defensive line desperate to get pressure on opposing QBs in 2021.