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Eagles’ AJ Brown defends new teammate Saquon Barkley amid ‘Hard Knocks’ controversy

The latest edition of HBO’s long-running series “Hard Knocks” premiered on July 2.

Much of the conversation surrounding the first episode of “HBO’s Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants,” centered around now-former Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

Barkley had somewhat of an unceremonious exit from the franchise that drafted him in the first round in 2018. However, he ultimately landed with his former team’s division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, much to the dismay of the Giants faithful.

The “Hard Knocks” episode pulled back the curtain on some of the process the Giants brass went through as they weighed whether to retain the two-time Pro Bowler’s services. 

KNICKS FANS BOO SAQUON BARKLEY DURING GAME AGAINST 76ERS IN PHILLY, LEADING TO SOCIAL MEDIA RANT

In a clip, members of the Giants front office discuss potential roadblocks the team would encounter if they attempted to trade Barkley after placing the franchise tag on the running back.

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Eagles star wide receiver A.J. Brown appeared to take issue with the way things transpired in New York, and he hinted that the Giants decision to move on from the running back left him fired up.

“The Saquon video fired me up and it wasn’t even about me . I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure you get yours fam! @saquon,” Brown wrote in a since-deleted post to X.

KNICKS FANS BOO SAQUON BARKLEY DURING GAME AGAINST 76ERS IN PHILLY, LEADING TO SOCIAL MEDIA RANT

Brown agreed to a three-year contract extension worth an estimated $96 million in April. The deal made him the highest paid player at his position at the time, until the contract was surpassed by Justin Jefferson’s historic extension in June.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen previously shared some insight into his team building philosophy, a plan that did not necessarily include paying Barkley a hefty annual salary.

Joe Schoen speaks to the media

“We’ve gotta upgrade the offensive line, and you’re paying the guy [quarterback Daniel Jones] $40 million. It’s not to hand the ball off to a $12 million back,” Schoen said. “This is the year for Daniel. The plan all along was to give him a couple years.

“Is he our guy for the next 10 years? Or do we need to pivot and find someone else?”

Saquon Barkley looks on field

In May, Barkley said that he “never got an offer to come back” to return to the Giants. In June, a trailer for the show surfaced. The video suggested that the running back may not have been completely transparent. 

At one point in the trailer, Schoen appeared to be engaged in a phone conversation with Barkley. “Saquon, can you give me your word on that, or are you not going to give us a chance,” Schoen said.

Barkley agreed to a three-year, $37.75 million deal with the Eagles in March.

 

Three different versions of “Hard Knocks” will air this year. While the aforementioned first version of the show focuses on the Giants offseason, the Chicago Bears training camp and preseason will be documented in the traditional five-part format beginning in August.

Lastly and for the first time ever, the show will follow all four teams that compete in the same division — the AFC North — throughout the regular season for “Hard Knocks: In Season.”

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