Giants RB Saquon Barkley was ready to take a different approach to his offseason -- that is until the coronavirus pandemic began to shut everything down across the country.
If it hadn't, Barkley was set to help his alma mater as a coach for the Penn State football team during their spring workouts.
Penn State head coach James Franklin spoke to the New York Post about Barkley wanting to join his staff, something that he was absolutely a fan of after the Pro Bowl running back reached out.
"Saquon reached out to me and his plan was to come and spend spring ball with us as a coach," Franklin said. "He wanted to sit in all of the coaches meetings to see how we came up with the game plan, how we watch film and all the things we discuss."
The reason for Barkley wanting to sit in the coach's chair was simple to Franklin.
"He wanted to be able to learn football and view it through a different lens because he thought that would help his growth, and he'd be able to go back and have a bigger impact with the Giants."
Barkley has quickly become one of the, if not the, best running backs in the NFL. But he has done so with a lackluster Giants team.
In turn, he wanted a different perspective to see how coaches were assessing players throughout practice and the many other duties they handle on a daily basis. Learning those ins and outs could've helped Barkley when he returned to East Rutherford to get to work with his new head coach Joe Judge.
Unfortunately, none of that has happened. The fact that Barkley did reach out to Franklin, though, showed his former head coach why he is one of the game's elite.
"He is very curious about a lot of different things," Franklin told the Post. "Throughout Saquon's college experience and afterwards, he is very observant. He is asking a lot of questions. Whenever your best player is also your strongest culture-driver behind the scenes, it's a recipe for success."
Barkley did say recently that he knows his leadership skills and responsibilities are even bigger in Year 3. He started to take on that role last season a little bit, but this experience with the Nittany Lions would've certainly helped him in that area. And as Franklin pointed out, Barkley is a tone-setter in that Giants locker room, so getting a better understanding of where coaches are coming from would've done a lot of good.