Fresh off a 152 rushing yard-performance in Week 10, New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley sat down with Heavy Sports for an exclusive interview. We discussed a wide range of topics including the turf field controversy, the Giants’ battle against the Dallas Cowboys defense on Thanksgiving, and his partnership with Courtyard by Marriott, who hosted the first-ever “Fansgiving” dinner on the 50-yard line of MetLife Stadium, which the star running back hosted on Nov. 15.
As for the debate of grass vs. turf, Barkley is all-in on making a difference in a positive way for the players, and that means asking the NFL for safer fielding surfaces to play on.
“I’m all about protection and safety for the players,” Barkley told Heavy Sports. “Whatever way we can do that, if that’s changing the fields or anything — helmet (or) cleats — I’m all about that.”
Barkley knows all too well about suspect playing fields. In 2020, he suffered a torn ACL at Soldier Field in Chicago, which cost him the rest of that season. Soldier Field uses grass, but it is widely considered to be one of the worst grass fields in the entire league.
However, the use of turf fields has come under the scrutiny of NFL players this season. MetLife Stadium, home of the Giants and New York Jets, is one of five NFL stadiums to utilize ‘slit film’ turf, which has led to Giants players and their opponents complaining the surface has increased the number of injuries during games.
When the Giants lost their top wide receiver, Sterling Shepard, on that very same field for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL in Week 3, Barkley didn’t hold back on the non-contact injury at the time, saying, “Personally, I’m not really a fan of turf.”
Barkley continued his stance on turf when asked about teammate safeties Landon Collins and Julin recently tweeting their displeasure about playing on turf.
“I’m all about longevity. Not only at the NFL level, (but) from youth football all the way up. Whatever we can do to protect this game and protect the players. I feel like we should be able to do that,” Barkley said.
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