Saquon Barkley regrets how he handled Giants departure: 'I could've given a proper goodbye'

Saquon Barkley regrets how he handled Giants departure: 'I could've given a proper goodbye'

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Saquon Barkley went from fan favorite to villain in practically the snap of a finger.

The New York Giants selected Barkley with the second overall pick in 2018, a move that continues to be a hot-button topic in the tri-state area.

However, six years later, he is off to their division rival in the Philadelphia Eagles.

Quickly after the news surfaced, Barkley posted two eagle emojis on X. That was just a preview.

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Saquon Barkley, #26 of the New York Giants, looks on from the sideline prior to an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 10, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

The running back was on the record for saying he wanted to be a lifelong Giant, prompting hate on social media. It should be noted that the Giants did not even offer Barkley a contract and released him when they could have franchise-tagged him.

However, the hate did not come from just fans; it even came from a former Giant, Tiki Barber.

Barber said Barkley was “dead” to him, prompting Barkley to call him a “hater since I got to New York.” Barkley also made mention that Barber left the Giants abruptly and criticized them shortly post-retirement (they won the Super Bowl in his first year as a former player).

“@TikiBarber lol yup you’re the prime example of loyalty to a team,” Barkley wrote on X.

Saquon Barkley warms up

Saquon Barkley, #26 of the New York Giants, warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 7, 2024 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

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Barkley even posted an Instagram post with a video of himself in a Giants jersey that transforms into an Eagles jersey with the caption reading “I’m tryna be what what I’m destined to be,” quoting 50 Cent’s “Many Men,” which was the featured song in the post.

After the apparent pettiness wore out, Barkley expressed regret for his social media posts.

“To the Giants fans that were hurt by me leaving, I have nothing but respect for all those guys. For the last six years, they’ve been great to me and my family and created so many memories,” he said at his introductory press conference, via SNY. “I don’t think I really handled it the right way on social media. I think I could’ve gave a proper goodbye. Like I said, once I announced it, everything kinda got hectic. But I am forever grateful for the Giants fans and so thankful for them. But unfortunately, the NFL is a business.”

In his rookie year, Barkley quickly became one of the top-tier running backs in the league, as he rushed for 1,307 yards with 11 scores on his way to winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.

Saquon Barkley vs Eagles

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, #26, against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field Dec. 25, 2023 in Philadelphia. (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

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He had another 1,000-yard rushing season in his second year despite only playing in 13 games.

Injuries began to take a toll on him over the next four seasons. He only played in two games in 2020 and returned to play in 13 games in 2021, but injuries clearly hampered him. He had a resurgence in 2022, but missed three games with an ankle sprain this past season.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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