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Eli Manning praises rookie RB Saquon Barkley for his professionalism

New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley hasn’t played a single down for his new team yet, but he’s already impressed veteran quarterback Eli Manning.

On Wednesday, Manning said of Barkley, “I’ve been impressed with Saquon and just his professionalism. I’m excited to get the pads on and see what he can do.”

The more conspiracy-driven among us could wonder if this isn’t a slight dig at Odell Beckham Jr., whose own professionalism has been called into question many times early in his career. But with OBJ doing and saying all the right things this spring and summer, it’s likely just a very strong endorsement of Barkley, with no strings attached.

The former Penn State star did come into the NFL with a squeaky clean resume. He was widely viewed as one of the can’t-miss prospects of this year’s draft class, not only due to his insane on-field exploits but also because he’s been a model citizen both on and off the field.

The Giants appear to have landed a real gem in Barkley. Now he just needs to stay healthy and produce on the field in similar fashion to what we witnessed during his playing days with the Nittany Lions.