Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott continue their rivalry, friendship in the NFL

Barkley was approached after that game near midfield by Ezekiel Elliott, then Ohio State’s star junior running back, who remembers leaping over a defender on one drive and watching Barkley do the same thing on the very next drive. Elliott had some complimentary words for Barkley on the gridiron and later when speaking to the media.

“A real big shoutout to that freshman running back,” Elliott told reporters after the game. “He’s definitely the truth.”

Barkley noticed. It meant something to him that Elliott would heap such praise on a freshman who was playing in his fifth career game.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

This was Ezekiel Elliott, the top running back in college football and eventually the No. 4 overall pick in the next NFL draft. Barkley admitted later he was giddy just to be on the field that day with Elliott and Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller. That he opened Elliott’s eyes was a bonus.11

That sparked a friendship that has encouraged the two running backs to remain in touch ever since. Their second career matchup will be Sunday night when Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys host Barkley and the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium.

They’ve texted and spoken. Barkley even told Newsday that Elliott sent him a congratulatory text after he rushed for 106 yards and had a 68-yard touchdown run in his NFL debut.

“Just hitting him here and there, giving him a little bit of motivation, seeing how he’s doing,” Elliott said.

Elliott and Barkley were supposed to meet up and train together in Los Angeles this offseason, but their schedules didn’t align. Barkley had to leave just days before Elliott arrived. It was disappointing.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick by the Giants this year, studies almost all the top running backs. He watches film of Todd Gurley II (whom he did work out with in Los Angeles), Elliott and Le’Veon Bell, among others. Barkley wanted to pick Elliott’s brain, and he still plans to do so sometime in the future.

Barkley and Elliott, on the surface, are unexpected friends. Barkley is reserved and soft-spoken, conscious of his image and careful with his words. Elliott is more boisterous, an emotional roller coaster with a fair share of off-the-field incidents on his résumé.