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May 23, 2024

Saquon Barkley is buying into Eagles' culture

Saquon Barkley was 'The Guy' for the Giants, but, with a big new contract in hand, is happily adjusting to his new spot with the Eagles this spring.

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Saquon Barkley Eagles Culture Kyle Ross/USA Today Sports

Saquon Barkley is already ingraining himself in the Eagles' culture after his tenure with the Giants.

Saquon Barkley has a new home this season after inking a contract worth $37.8 million with the Eagles back in March. Going from a six-win Giants team low on offensive talent — outside of Barkley himself — to a star-studded team in Philly is a new experience for the star running back.

"The biggest thing that struck me is my first 7-on-7 huddle, you see A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert and Jalen Hurts," Barkley said after Eagles practice on Wednesday. "That's not even including offensive linemen. We're all just coming in, trying to buy in, learn the playbook and try to get better every day."

Barkley would never specifically throw shade at the players he was surrounded with in New York (New Jersey?). However, anyone can tell that moving on from Daniel Jones and "Tommy Cutlets" DeVito to Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown is like jumping from the IronPigs to the Phillies' star-studded lineup. It's a whole new world with new expectations. 

"It's fun. It's s a fresh start," Barkley said. "I feel like a rookie again, getting to know everybody, learning the culture, buying into the culture... It feels like it's home. I finally got to a spot and I've just been loving it."

What does that culture mean to Barkley?

"The culture here is every guy coming in, buying in, working hard, pushing each other, building that teamwork, that mindset in the weight room and then on the field," Barkley said. "And also outside, just hanging out with guys, golfing with guys, grabbing food with guys, getting to know each other. That's definitely important for me, it's important for the team, but especially for me... That's kind of been the culture, creating a culture where we can go out on the field and depend on each other and go out there and try to win as many games as we can."

The weight room is a natural spot for Barkley to show off his pure strength and athleticism. Much has been made over the years about the giant size of Barkey's quads and playing alongside the 600-pound-squatting Hurts will only make the "Tush Push" that much stronger this year. 

"I've always admired his game from afar," Barkley said of Hurts. "It's been fun to learn the system, get in the weight room with these guys, get on the field with these guys, especially Jalen and continue to build something."

As Barkley gets into the swing of things at the NovaCare Complex, that bonding, that culture he's buying into translates to some off-the-field fun with his new teammates.

"I'm golfing with a lot of guys, o-linemen, but mostly, I'll say my golf buddy right now is Will Grier and Kenny Pickett. Kenny is just picking it up. Shoutout to Kenny, he broke 100 for the first time, he just started two or three months ago, so that's a big accomplishment."

He has a bit to go before he can match Eagles golfer extraordinaire Jake Elliott though.

"I haven't played with Jake [Elliott] yet. I'm nowhere near on that level," Barkley said with a smile. 

Barkley is easily assimilating into the Eagles' locker room. That seamless fit should translate to the field as well. He's a do-everything back who can bruise defenders on the ground and burn out the clock for the Birds on the road to victory late in games. He's talented out of the backfield, too. He caught 98 passes over the last two seasons with the Giants and lined up in the slot at times for the Birds' offense during 7-on-7s on Wednesday. 

The Eagles don't need Barkley to be the star like he was in New York. They just need him to be a star given the cast around him. Eagles fans should be buying into that just as much as Barkley himself is buying into his new team.

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