Barkley was asked about the situation this week while attending Penn State’s Pro Day, and the Giants running back revealed he spoke with Beckham shortly after the trade was announced.
“We talked over Facetime, he had just gotten traded, so I don’t think he was really happy about it,” Barkley told NJ Advance Media. “He just gave me some advice about how to handle stuff in the league. He was the same old big brother to me that he’s always been.”
Barkley was already developing into the Giants’ top option on offense in only his rookie season, and now that is obviously no longer a matter of debate. More than that, the onus will be on Barkley to take on a larger leadership role on the field and in the locker room, something the running back recognizes.
“I have to grow as a leader more,” Barkley said. “Whether it’s being a vocal leader or leading by example, it’s a team effort. We have to have other players grow as leaders, continue to believe in each other.”
Barkley’s comments certainly illustrate how he and Beckham grew close during their only season together, so it’s hardly a surprise that despite the disappointment, he only wishes the best for his former teammate.
“I was sad to see him go,” Barkley said. “But, hopefully he continues to have a great career there in Cleveland.”
While Browns fans are understandably whipped up into a frenzy over the Beckham acquisition, Giants fans now know the team is about to embark upon some kind of rebuild. Barkley undoubtedly will be the focal point in that process, but one has to wonder if the Giants may be setting up arguably the best young running back in the NFL for failure.