Saquon Barkley: Giants have been 'very unfortunate,' but 'it's going to change at some point'

An uncertain future awaits in Gotham.

Nevertheless, Saquon Barkley wants his future -- and the rest of his career for that matter -- to be made in New York with the Giants.

There are an abundance of questions surrounding what lies ahead for Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, head coach Joe Judge and even Barkley, who's been plagued by injury woes following a stellar rookie campaign. The game-breaking back is confident a turnaround is on the horizon, though, and he wants to be a driving force.

"I plan on being a big reason why we turn this thing around," Barkley said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press for an upcoming episode of the AP Pro Football Podcast. "That's just my mindset, that's my thought process. When I got drafted here, I said I want to be here for the rest of my life. I was born in New York, I'm from Pennsylvania. I live an hour and some change from my parents' house. This is where I started my career, where I would love to finish my career. I know this thing is going to turn around and I would love to be a part of the reason it does."

Heading into Week 15, the Giants are 4-9 and have assured that New York will have its second straight losing season under Judge and its fifth in a row as a franchise.

Barkley is of the belief that the right people and, perhaps most importantly, the right way of thinking is in place. Thus, he's in support of the way things are going and the direction things are headed under the Judge coaching umbrella.

"I think we've bought in," Barkley said. "We have the guys that are bought in. We work. We love football. We have guys who are committed to it. But that's everywhere in the NFL. That's why it's so hard to win in the NFL.

"We have just been very unfortunate as a team, as an organization, whether it's injuries or just the way we lost games. But it's all part of the building process and it's going to change at some point. And, when it does, it's going to be a beautiful story."

While the Big Blue faithful is no doubt dreaming of the beautiful story to be told, there are some harsh chapters that are likely to come first.

Barkley's had his fifth-year option picked up, but talks of an extension beyond the 2022 season are muddied by the tumultuous tale of his last three seasons' injury travails. He's missed four games this season due to ankle issues. He missed 14 the campaign prior and three in his second season. In all, he's missed 21 games since a rookie season in which he surpassed 2,000 scrimmage yards and garnered AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

While just keeping Barkley on the field is a glaring issue, it often overshadows the toll that the injuries have taken. The Penn State product believes he's returning to form now, though.

So far this season, the 24-year-old Barkley has 379 yards on 100 carries and a pair of touchdowns on the ground. It's a far cry from back-to-back 1,000-yard showings in 2018-19, but he's clearly not about to shirk any work ahead.

"I put a lot of hard work in the offseason and during the season with my knee, and also having to rehab my ankle," Barkley said. "But last week, watching film, I felt like my burst was there a little bit. I felt like my explosiveness is there. I just have to keep going, keep trusting in the system, keep trusting my body, keep trusting the rehab and just keep my head down to keep working."

Unsettled as the future is for the Giants, it's a given that plenty of hard work lies ahead and Barkley's never slowed down in that regard.

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