Have you ever been stuck at a red light for so long that it feels like it might never change?
Welcome to Saquon Barkley’s world.
The Giants still have not fully cleared Barkley for Sunday’s game against the Broncos despite him passing every test so far in his return from a torn ACL. He was running routes and taking hand-offs in individual drills during the option portion of Monday’s practice. He has been involved in 11-on-11 drills for two weeks.
Next up will be a padded practice Wednesday during which he will be knocked around for the second time. The Giants also must release an official injury report specifying practice participation Wednesday for the first time since the end of last season.
“I thought we had, for the first day, a good amount of what he had to do live contact last week,” coach Joe Judge said in reference to last Thursday’s re-introduction to a live tempo for Barkley. “In terms of this week … he’ll see a little bit more.”
The Giants have practiced an abundance of caution with Barkley all offseason, never putting a timeline on his return. The idea is based on a combination of serving Barkley’s long-term best interest – he is expected to be the focal point of the offense far into the future, even though this is the final year of his contract – and keeping game-planning opponents guessing.
Barkley has played along every step of the way despite the slow-walk contradicting an image of superhuman athleticism. He always had Week 1 circled in the back of his mind, and an NFL Network report Monday morning put Barkley as “very close” to gaining full clearance.
“That won’t be decided until later in the week,” Judge said. “I want to see how he responds to a couple things physically within his body and we’ll make the best assessment for him this weekend and going forward.”