Quarterback Eli Manning handed the ball off to Barkley on the first play from scrimmage of Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns. Barkley zipped to the right before avoiding several tackles. He then shifted into another gear, running to his right and beating several players around the edge before being pushed out of bounds.
“You’re just so locked in the moment and you’re just living in the moment that you really don’t even notice what’s going on in your head, but the offensive line did a great job with blocking up front, creating space. Evan (Engram) made an unbelievable block there and I was able to create some space and get a big gain,” Barkley said.
He refused to give in to the notion that he made something out of nothing on the play.
“Everybody talks about the speed difference in the NFL, but to see you still have that burst and you can get to that line of scrimmage and create space,” Barkley said. “I just have to find a way to gain even more yards than that.”
Head coach Pat Shurmur was pleased with Barkley’s first NFL carry.
“I loved his first run,” Shurmur said. “If only they could all be like that. You could see, it wasn’t too big for him.”
Barkley played collegiately at Penn State. Sundays at the Meadowlands shouldn’t bother him too much after three seasons of Saturdays with the Nittany Lions. MetLife Stadium seats 82,500 while Penn State’s Beaver Stadium seats 106,572.
“It was kind of weird. I was talking to a lot of guys there. For some reason I didn’t get nervous, I didn’t really get anxious,” Barkley said of his first NFL appearance. “It was kind of a weird feeling. They said it would probably hit me when the national anthem goes off, but I kind of just got locked in so quick.
“I just have been preparing for this moment for my whole life and being able to play in the NFL, and I didn’t want any other thing to ruin it. If I had broken a long run, no, I just wanted to go out there and enjoy, and have fun, and take advantage of every rep and every opportunity I got.”
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.