If the early days of his career are any indication, New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley is going to be in the NFL for a long time. Barkley is explosive, capable of scoring from anywhere on the field at any time. He’s a smooth runner with exceptional change-of-direction skills and, crucially in the modern NFL, he’s a fantastic pass-catcher capable of working both out of the backfield or split out wide.
But just because his career should be a long one doesn’t mean he can put off thinking about life after football entirely. There’s got to be some sort of plan. And Barkley has one, with three different phases. “This game is so short and this game can be taken from you at any moment, so you have to be conscious and you have to be aware and you have to think about your future,” he says.
When he’s done playing, Barkley hopes to find himself in the broadcast booth. “You can’t play football forever and you can’t play sports forever but you can talk about it for a very long time,” he says. “The way I would imagine my first time broadcasting on Sunday Night or Monday Night Football game is: crazy. Definitely crazy. A little nervous. Getting up in the booth on that stage, even though you’re not putting shoulder pads on, you’re still involved. You’re still a part of the game.”
But he even has plans outside of football altogether. For instance, Barkley wants to open a gym. And he doesn’t just want to open it. He wants to be really involved with the kids that end up using it.
“I would love to open up a youth gym and kind of be a mentor at that gym. I don’t mean just like a football facility. I mean a real big one where it could be volleyball, it could be football, it could be boxing, it could be anything you could imagine,” he says. “You walk in and there’s some kids: different sizes, different races. And give them an opportunity to help develop them as athletes. Not only as athletes, but as people.”
And of course, Barkley has plans for his family. He also wants to make sure he’s a good father and an example for others.
“Having a daughter definitely changes the way that you look at your future and how you think,” he says. “As a father i it is an exciting thing to watch your child grow. I’m very excited about what my daughter will become. Whether she’ll want to play soccer, she’ll do something with school. If she wants to be the first woman president, she could be the first woman president.”
He might have a long way to go before getting into the booth or opening a gym, but the work of being a father an an example starts right now.
“The actions that I do now and I continue to do throughout my life, it’s going to help impact her,” Barkley said. “I want to be one of those people that a parent could be like, ‘This guy was one of those guys who did it in the right way.’ I feel like when I look back on my life and look back on my career, I don’t want to be remembered as just a football player. I want to be remembered for having an impact on people.”