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Giants’ Saquon Barkley aims to ‘just ball and have fun’ ahead of facing Bears

The star running back wants to loosen up and get back to his game after several poor performances.

Saquon Barkley looks to finish strong in 2019, starting Sunday against the Bears.
Paul Sancya/AP Photo

If the Bears were hoping to face the Saquon Barkley who ran for 29 yards off 27 carries over his last two games, they may want to think again. A bye week afforded the Giants’ star running back a chance to dig into his recent struggles, and he came away determined to get back to dicing up defenses with flashy moves like he did as a rookie.

“That is who I am and that is what I’m getting back to these last six weeks,” Barkley told reporters ahead of his team’s trip to Soldier Field. “I’m going to go out there and just ball and have fun and go out there with my brothers and whatever happens, happens.”

Barkley, the 2018 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, hasn’t been having as much fun this season. He missed Weeks 4-6 with an ankle injury, and since returning, he’s struggled badly in four consecutive losses.

A 13-carry, 1-yard performance against the lowly Jets two weeks ago represents just the fifth time since 1960 an NFL player has recorded so many carries with so few yards. That’s not the history Barkley expected to make after being selected No. 2 overall in the 2018 draft.

He admitted that such challenging days affected his attitude, something he wants to adjust starting Sunday against the Bears, who gave up 125 rushing yards to him in a Giants win last year.

“I wouldn’t say I’m not doing it enough, but [I’m] going back to having fun,” Barkley said. “Mostly what I want to do, when I say go back to being the guy that I am, that is who I am.”

With six weeks left in the season, Barkley seems confident he’ll be able to finish strong.

“There is a reason why I got drafted here. There is a reason why I’m one of the best running backs in the league,” Barkley said. “And I’m just going to go out there and do what I do.”