Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. may not be teammates anymore, but they find themselves sharing a common goal: to bounce back from ACL surgery.
Both Barkley and Beckham had their 2020 season cut short after sustaining ACL tears – Barkley in Week 2 and Beckham in Week 7 – and the two plan to team up as they rehab and train their way back from the same injury.
“Only thing I do know that I have planned for sure, I’m definitely going to link up with [Odell],” Barkley told Jordan Raanan of ESPN. “Obviously, Odell tore his knee a little too. I think we both need just being there. We’re really good friends. Competing with each other and pushing each other will also be good too. That’s the only I thing I know for certain I will do. Everything else is up in the air.”
Barkley said he typically links up with Beckham in the offseason as it is, but this year is obviously different and working with someone who is undergoing the same thing could be beneficial to them both.
In fact, Barkley mentioned he would love to workout with other guys who tore their ACLs this past season.
“Obviously I would love to, any of those guys that are going through this injury,” Barkley said. “Whether it’s Joe [Burrow], [Devin] Bush, Bud [Dupree], there’s a couple guys, any guys, I think it would be really dope if we could all link up.”
Beckham, however, may be on the closest timeline as Barkley. The Giants running back underwent his surgery on Oct. 30 while Beckham had his on Nov. 10, but Barkley said it could be helpful to see the difference each one of them is going through in the rehab process.
“It’s not really more comparing or competing with each other,” he said. “What I mean by competing, like competing within ourself and making sure that we’re there pushing each other and getting the best out of each other.”
Beckham has been down this road before, too. During the 2017 season with the Giants, he fractured his ankle and needed season-ending surgery after Week 4. He was able to return healthy for the start of the 2018 season.
Yet, Barkley was stunned to see Beckham – whom he consistently speaks to and plays “Call of Duty” with -- go down again this past season with the Browns.
“It was weird. I’m literally rehabbing … I’m looking up and I’m watching. I see a clip, and I see Odell get hurt,” Barkley said. “That definitely hurt me.”
Barkley believes that their friendship will only enhance their road to recovery.
“I think it’s very important that since we are really close and we know each other so well and we are two competitors and we think we can really help each other,” Barkley said. “I do think it’s important to link up. But at the same time, we both have to come in with the mindset of getting 1% better each day. That’s what we have to get from each other. Any way you can get it.”