Why Giants’ Saquon Barkley decided not to opt out of season


Saquon Barkley intends to play football this season, deciding not to opt out because of COVID-19 concerns. He says what he sees at the Giants facilities gives him confidence he is working in a safe environment.

“I believe in our training room and our team and facility and our owners,’’ Barkley said Friday. “They have done a tremendous job of putting the procedures in place and giving us the right equipment to make it as safe as it could be. I want to say thank you to those guys because they are doing a really good job and every single day, they put us in the best position to stay healthy and safe to be able to compete at a high level.’’

Barkley said the issues Major League Baseball is having with positive coronavirus tests “crosses your mind’’ but does not make him skeptical the NFL season will be able to start and ultimately finish.

“We talked about this as a team, we have to focus on how we can take advantage of this,’’ Barkley said. “How we need to stay committed to the procedures of wearing a mask and even when outside following the procedures to stay as healthy as we can.’’

Saquon Barkley
Saquon BarkleyAnthony J. Causi

The caution, Barkley said, extends to fans who ask him for autographs or to pose for pictures.

“I have to make sure I’m wearing my mask and make sure they are wearing a mask,’’ he said. “Obviously, still be polite.’’

Sterling Shepard was one of several prominent NFL players, including Barkley, to participate in the “I am George Floyd’’ video in early June that was so powerful it sparked an immediate response — and apology — from commissioner Roger Goodell.

“That was something that I was very passionate about,’’ Shepard said. “I’m very supportive of change in the right way. That’s just kind of how it came about and how I heard about it. Moving forward as a team, we have things in place that we’re getting out to these communities and getting active. That’s something that I wanted to do, was take action.’’

Shepard said the team has not yet discussed if it will signify racial justice issues or Black Lives Matter with a helmet decal.

“We want to be unified,’’ he said. “That’s something that we’ll talk about as a team.’’

Zak DeOssie, the long-snapper for two Giants Super Bowl-winning teams, officially announced his retirement Friday. He was a 2007 fourth-round draft pick from Brown — his father, Steve, also played for the Giants — who quickly learned he was not an NFL linebacker and fashioned a 13-year career as a top-notch specialist.

“I am forever grateful for the opportunity, the lifelong friendships, and ten lifetimes worth of memories,’’ DeOssie wrote on Twitter. He moves on to a new career in Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs.


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