Damon Harrison has never been one to hold back in anything that he does, it just isn’t in him so it isn’t a surprise that his outlook on practice is of a similar mindset. On Tuesday, the New York Giants nose tackle said he can’t wait till training camp later this summer so he can start some real hitting. In particular, Harrison wants to welcome rookie first-round pick Saquon Barkley to the NFL.
It is tough love of course, from Harrison, who heaped praise on the Penn State running back on Tuesday, the first day of minicamp for the Giants.
Much has been made of Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. The running back comes into one of the league’s worst rushing offenses the past two years but there is hope that between the addition of Barkley and a revamping of the line that things will improve. The potential, truthfully, is for the Giants to be much-improved in the ground game.
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And Harrison, one of the top interior defensive linemen in the NFL, said he will do his part come training camp by dishing out a few hits to his teammate. Of course, Harrison isn’t eyeing up anything dirty or malicious, certainly not against a commodity as precious as Barkley to this offense. But Harrison is still looking forward to helping the learning process for the rookie Barkley by giving him a few good looks and some good licks come training camp time.
“The guy can play, man. ‘Saquad’, that’s what they call him, or something like that. I’m excited to get out there in training camp, so I can hit his ass,” Harrison said with a playful laugh. “See what he’s made of. I told him, ‘It’s not Penn State. He’s not going up against Josh Banks at Wake Forest.’ But no, the guy’s explosive, you can see how they will use him in the offense, which will be to our benefit.”
Banks is a defensive tackle in his second year as a defensive tackle with the Giants. Penn State did not play Wake Forest during Barkley’s three years with the team.
Harrison, still light-hearted, said that there have been no directives to give Barkley special treatment.
“Hey man, you get him between the lines, get the ball in your hand, I don’t give a damn what anybody says,” Harrison said. “It’s time to work. So no, I don’t think we’ll be able to hit him too hard, but I’m going to hit his ass.”