CINCINNATI – It may not be enough to earn him the Nobel Peace Prize, but Giants running back Saquon Barkley did play a role in the accord between teammate Daniel Jones and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield this week.
Barkley, who became friendly with Mayfield as the two were finalists for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award last year, said the Browns quarterback texted him to make sure that his apology texts to Jones were received.
“Baker reached out to me,” Barkley said on Thursday night after the Giants’ 25-17 preseason win over the Bengals (Barkley did not play in the game). “He sent me a text. He got through mutual friends Daniel’s number and he sent Daniel a text and just in case it wasn’t the right number or he switched his number [he wanted] to say please make sure Daniel gets this.”
Mayfield was quoted in GQ this week expressing shock that the Giants selected Jones with the sixth overall pick and being critical of a quarterback evaluation process that did not hold Jones’ sub-.500 won-loss record in college as a strong sign. Mayfield said publicly on Wednesday that his quotes were taken out of context and that they were about quarterbacks in general – himself included – and not Jones in particular.
“At first when you see it, it sounded crazy and looked crazy,” Barkley said. “I’ve come to understand that sometimes you say things and at the end of the day you can’t control what people write… From me talking to [Mayfield], he sounded sincere about it and I felt like it was taken out of context. He apologized to Daniel and Daniel has kind of accepted the apology. It was a little fun for the media for a little bit, but it was not that big of a deal.”
Mayfield said his quotes in the article were from the spring and he has since learned more about Jones from Giants he is friendly with, including Barkley and wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Shepard said on Thursday night that he played no role in bridging the feud between the two quarterbacks this week.
“Baker cleaned that up himself,” Shepard said.
Barkley said he was impressed with how Jones handled the situation.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Barkley said. “That’s why we drafted him, the type of kid he is, the type of person he is. I think he handled it the right way. You guys asked him questions and he kept the main thing the main thing, and that’s here, the team… I think that showed not only who he is but a little flash of leadership also. I know Eli would have handled it the same way, I know I would have handled it the same way. Kudos to him.”
Ultimately, this may have been a misunderstanding. But like everything in the preseason, it’s preparation for the real thing.
“At the end of the day, even though this was taken out of context, there is going to be a lot more stuff said,” Barkley said. “He hasn’t had anything crazy happen to him yet, but when it does come, you see how he takes adversity.”