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Giants' Saquon Barkley vows to 'just ball and have fun'

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley spent part of his bye week reviewing film and wasn't happy with what he saw.

He didn't see the version of himself that he would've liked.

Barkley, who said he's feeling better after the extra week of rest, vowed to be truer to himself over the final six weeks of the season. That means being the running back who has fun and makes defenders miss, even if it's at the line of scrimmage and conventional wisdom says he should charge at the hole for a minimal gain.

"That is who I am and that is what I'm getting back to these last six weeks," Barkley said heading into Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears. "I'm going to go out there and just ball and have fun and go out there with my brothers and whatever happens, happens. I'm not going to worry if, 'he's hitting it too much or if he's not, he's not doing this or doing that.'

"There is a reason why I got drafted here. There is a reason why I'm one of the best running backs in the league. And I'm just going to go out there and do what I do."

Barkley hasn't been nearly as productive in his second season as he was in 2018, when he took home NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and led the league with more than 2,000 total yards.

Prior to the bye week, Barkley had 1 yard on 13 carries against the Jets. He has just three rushes of 20-plus yards this season -- after a league-leading 16 last year. He has missed three games this season with an ankle injury.

The Giants (2-8) enter this week on a six-game losing streak. It's an unusual position for Barkley, who didn't experience much losing or individual struggles at Penn State.

"I wouldn't say I'm not doing it enough, but [I'm] going back to having fun," Barkley said. "Mostly what I want to do, when I say go back to being the guy that I am, that is who I am. Have fun when I score a touchdown. Run, have fun with my teammates. Be that guy on the sideline. Be vocal. That's all it is. Go back and have fun. Spend the good times with my teammates.

"Sometimes I can make that person miss. Or make two guys miss. It might be so simple of making two guys miss and getting a 5-yard gain. It might be that simple. I'm not saying make a guy miss and go 70 yards. It can be so simple as just not getting tackled in the backfield or getting back to the line of scrimmage. Or getting above the sticks to get the sticks moving and put us in better field position. That is what I'm going to do."