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Saquon excited by hot start in 2022: 'That is the guy I know'

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Saquon Barkley not only looks like one of the NFL's most dominant running backs again this season - he hasn't felt this good in a long time.

The New York Giants star, who put on a show as a freshman in 2018 but wasn't able to replicate that success in the following years, said Thursday the plays he's made through this season's first three games remind him of his best days in the NFL.

"Yeah, not to be arrogant but when you see plays like when I went back and watched film on the touchdown run I had on Monday, making that jump cut inside a hole, making those two guys miss and finding a way to score, those are plays where it just puts a smile on your face when you're like, 'That is the guy I know,'" Barkley said, according to ESPN's Jordan Raanan.

Barkley took the league by storm after the Giants drafted him second overall in 2018. He rushed for 1,307 yards and caught 721 that year, good for an NFL-high 2,028 scrimmage yards. The Penn State product also amassed 15 total touchdowns while appearing in all 16 games en route to winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

But Barkley struggled to stay healthy the following years. He missed three games in 2019 with an ankle injury before being sidelined for most of the 2020 campaign due to a torn ACL. An ankle ailment then forced him to sit out four games last season.

However, Barkley is off to a hot start to the 2022 campaign. The 25-year-old leads all running backs in snaps played, and he's racked up 317 yards (six per carry) as well as two touchdowns on the ground. His 408 scrimmage yards also top the league this year.

"That is the guy who was always there," Barkley added. "He was there last year to be completely honest. I just had a hard time finding a way to bring him out. That is coming with a mental disconnect, loss in confidence, and just human nature. It happens. You're going to have your ups and downs in life, but you have to find a way not to waver and trust yourself. Continue to trust the process and find belief in yourself again. I feel like I'm starting to do that."

Barkley has a good opportunity to keep his momentum going in Week 4 as the 2-1 Giants host the Chicago Bears, who've allowed the second-most rushing yards in 2022.

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