Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley was among this year's group of athletes to be featured in ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue.
The 21-year-old first-rounder showed off his physique, which has been in the spotlight since his Penn State days. Barkley's workouts, including a 405-pound power clean, went viral as fans marveled at his strength.
But, when asked about his favorite workout moment, Barkley didn't say one of the moments where he broke a personal best. Instead, it was a rare moment he couldn't get the weight up.
"My favorite moment would be my first power clean. Not the 405 one. ...the highest I've gotten," he told ESPN's Hallie Grossman about his favorite workout moment. "My first power clean was my favorite one because I actually didn't get it the first time. I failed. I remember just looking at that board and seeing 390. I never even went that high. But me and my coaches were talking about what should I go for. ...I said let's go for the record."
It was in that moment of failure that Barkley became dedicated to the weight room. He didn't just want to get better for himself, but he wanted to be remembered as one of the best running backs in Penn State history.
That is why he stared down the record board in the Nittany Lions' weight room, and wanted to break every one in the running backs' category.
"I wanted to go down as one of the best running backs to every play at Penn State," Barkley said. "If you look at the history of the running back position, all those guys are amazing and I wanted to at least be mentioned in the same category as those guys. I remember looking at the board and seeing what the records were for running back and thinking, 'I know I can get all that.' "
Barkley's dedication to the weight room came in high school, and though he saw results on and off the field, big-name schools didn't recruit him that heavy. He used that as motivation, and it obviously worked out being the No. 2 overall draft choice by the Giants back in April.
As Barkley embarks on his newest football journey, he will continue to compete against his own records in the weight room while trying to break more on the NFL stage.
"I still do watch guys' films because I'm a fan of the game, and a lot of guys do a lot of amazing things," Barkley said when asked if he pictures anyone he wants to top in the NFL. "But the thing I put in my head right now is myself. Competing with myself. Competing with trying to be elite and trying to be the best I can."