Giants’ Devontae Booker ready for leading role as Saquon Barkley eases back

As Devontae Booker sees it, what goes down Sunday is indeed a new beginning but certainly not a debut.

Yes, he will play in his first game for the Giants, and, quite likely, will be the leading ball carrier on offense even though Saquon Barkley is expected to make his summer-long comeback official by getting the green light to play against the Broncos. Barkley will get the headlines and the attention, but it could be Booker who gets the ball and the yards.

He is fine with that.

“I know I haven’t played in any playoff games or no Super Bowls or anything like that,’’ Booker told The Post. “But I’ve been in a bunch of different systems and I know a lot of football. I gained a lot of knowledge over these years. That’s what I can bring, and my playing ability. They wouldn’t have wanted me to come here if I wasn’t playing well or doing what I was supposed to do on the field.’’

Booker was one of the more curious signings for the Giants. They were ready to part ways with Wayne Gallman and they wanted an experienced running back to pair with Barkley, who is coming off reconstructive knee surgery. Booker, signed to a two-year deal worth up to $6 million, was an interesting choice. The 29-year-old was a 2016 fourth-round draft pick of the Broncos and his busiest season, by far, was his rookie year, when he started six games and ran for 612 yards on 174 carries.

Devontae Booker
Bill Kostroun

Since then, there has been only one more start for Booker, last season for the Raiders. He ran the ball 93 times for 423 yards last year. He has career totals of 1,526 yards and seven rushing touchdowns and 122 receptions for 956 yards and one touchdown.

There are no indications on Booker’s résumé that he can handle a full load. There is every indication he will be needed early this season, as the Giants play their first two games four days apart and will not tempt fate and risk Barkley’s knee by making him the centerpiece of the offense right away. The only other running back on the roster is rookie Gary Brightwell.

“He looks damn good,’’ Booker said of Barkley. “He had a lot of time off and he’s been working his butt off. Just seeing the way he worked, he’s ready.’’

Ready to play? Yes. Ready for 20-25 touches? No.

Enter, Booker.

“This is going into my sixth season and when I get the ball, just very determined, I just run,’’ Booker said. “It’s football at the end of the day. I don’t have nothing to say to the Giants’ fans or anything like that. Got to wait and see and go from there.

“Absolutely, I’m confident. I got to be confident. If I’m out there not confident at all I’m not gonna play my game, I’m not gonna be myself. I’m definitely confident in my capabilities. Whatever cards are dealt this game, only time will tell.’’

New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates, the celebrity gossip site and the entertainment site

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