There continue to be hints that New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley will not be in the lineup when Big Blue opens the 2021 regular season against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12.
While speaking with Jordan Raanan of ESPN, Giants coach Joe Judge insisted he will not rush Barkley back from the torn ACL he suffered last September.
"We're thinking long term with Saquon; long term in the season, long term in his career," Judge explained during the conversation. "And by taking care of him individually that is going to help our team long-term as well. We're going to make sure when we get him out there we can keep him out there.
"And we've got to make sure we do the best thing for him as we go along the way and make sure we make decisions based on his body and not some artificially anticipated timeline. When he's ready to go, that is when he's going to be out there."
Barkley is beginning training camp on the physically unable to perform list but has "made a lot of gains" in his recovery, per Judge. Everyone involved, including Barkley, has remained coy about his eventual return to in-game action, and Raanan noted in June that the 24-year-old may not face a live defense before October.
"This is going to be a long-term mission," Judge added.
It seems a safe bet Barkley won't take the field for any preseason action next month.