Barber: Saquon Barkley can be one of 'greatest ever'

  • By Adam Maya
More Columns >

Tiki Barber is not in the Hall of Fame like football icon Frank Gifford. He didn't win a Super Bowl like New York Giants greats Joe Morris, Ottis Anderson or Rodney Hampton. But the numbers speak for themselves: Barber is Big Blue's gold standard at running back.

The retired star says that could change in the next decade. Health and home team permitting, Barber believes second-year back Saquon Barkley will eclipse him.

"If he stays healthy and he stays here, in New York," Barber said, via Matt Lombardo of "My records don't have a chance."

Barber, who spent his entire 10-year career with New York, leads the franchise in rushing yards (10,449) and all-purpose yards (17,359) and is second in rushing touchdowns (55). His 586 receptions rank second in team history and are by far the most among running backs. His 4.7 yards per carry is the highest mark of any Giant with at least 2,000 rushing yards.

And yet Barber isn't too proud to say Barkley will be better.

"He can be one of the greatest ever," Barber said. "Physically, he's a freak. I'll parallel him to Adrian Peterson. When I first met Adrian, I looked at his muscular and body structure and was just in awe. His muscles were popping out of his skin and Saquon is the same way. That portends a durability.

"When you pair that with a passion and desire to be great, you get an Adrian Peterson. Saquon is the same type of player, but he's much better, because he's so versatile. Adrian couldn't catch the ball out of the backfield or line up as a wide receiver. Saquon can do that at a very high level."

Barkley's wide array of skills were on full display as a rookie in 2018. The No. 2 pick of the 2018 draft led the league in yards from scrimmage (2,028) and was second in rushing (1,307), while also catching an NFL rookie record 91 passes and scoring 15 touchdowns. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry and didn't fumble once. It made him an obvious choice for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

It was also enough to convince the best back in Giants history that he probably won't hold onto that crown for much longer.