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Saquon Barkley got an incredulous look on his face when asked
if he was hoping to play in the New York Giants' preseason opener against the
Cleveland Browns on Thursday.

Hoping was not an option as far as the second overall pick in the NFL draft
was concerned. The halfback from Penn State wants to play Adidas
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, even though the Giants cut back his
workload last week, leaving many to wonder if he was a little dinged after 10
days of training camp.

Coach Pat Shurmur put the injury speculation to rest when talking to the
media on Monday. He said Barkley is physically fine and the team is just
managing his workload.

It seemed odd, though, on Saturday when the Giants didn't give Barkley a snap
after limiting his carries a day earlier.

Shurmur downplayed it, saying the rookie has been getting plenty of work in
drills not open to the media.

Barkley believes he is ready. He has worked hard, picked the brains of
quarterback Eli Manning and veteran running back Jonathan Stewart, gotten to
know his linemen and seems to have grasped the offense as well as can be
expected for a newcomer.

Shurmur said the 21-year-old is making mistakes but learning from every
one.

"Hoping? I plan to play," Barkley said Monday. "That's like I don't know; I
haven't experienced an NFL preseason game yet, but I think that hoping would be
like, I am hoping I am good to go for that game. I am more than capable to
playing now. I am just happy inside to play in my first NFL game. Hopefully I
can maximize every rep."

Barkley said he never had this much time to take care of his body in college.
He noted that in his final season at Penn State he had to juggle training camp
with taking finals from summer school classes.

Being hit for the first time in the NFL is something Barkley wants to
happen.

"The first hit is something that knocks everything out, whereever your nerve
is, you are overthinking stuff. It definitely helps."

Barkley isn't looking to gain a specific amount of yards or touchdowns. He
wants to maximize every chance he gets and to have no missed assignments.

Manning said the best advice he has given Barkley is to take what the defense
is giving on each play and realize you are not going to score on every play.

"Understand that expectations are going to be high Authentic
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, and don't worry about that," Manning said.
"That's what you have a team for and you have a job to do. Take what they give
you and when the opportunity comes and there is a hole and you get to the
safety, that's your opportunity to make a guy miss and make something special
happen."

Defensive coordinator James Bettcher said Barkley has been a good test for
his defense.

"There's no question," he said. "I dealt with a guy of that nature and we've
talked about it here at this stand before is (David Johnson), an Arizona guy
that can split out and try to create mismatches, a guy that can run the ball
extremely well between the tackles, and coordinators are going to have a fun
time figuring out how they're going to get their matchups right."

Shurmur said he was still working on how much everyone will play Thursday at
MetLife Stadium. He said he wants to see his whole roster since performance in
games carries more weight than training camp in determining the 53-man
roster.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doubled down Wednesday on insisting
that his players stand for the national anthem, declaring that he wouldn't
support anyone who chose to stay in the locker room.

Speaking at his annual news conference to open training camp in California,
the outspoken billionaire became the first owner to say publicly that his
players would not be allowed to stay off the field during the anthem.

"No," Jones said when asked if he would support players staying in the locker
room. "Our policy is that you stand at the anthem, toe on the line."

Last week, the NFL and the players' union agreed to suspend the rule approved
by owners this spring that gave players the option of staying in the locker room
while allowing teams to discipline players who took a knee or sat during the
anthem.

The decision to begin negotiating on the issue came hours after The
Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who protested during the
anthem could be suspended for up to four games under team policy.

Last season Authentic
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, Jones was the first owner to declare that
he would bench a player for protesting during the anthem. Two of his players
鈥?defensive linemen David Irving and Damontre Moore 鈥?raised their fists briefly
as "The Star Spangled Banner" ended but weren't disciplined.

"I obviously wouldn't dare speak for any of the other owners, much less in
general about 31 other owners," Jones said. "As far as the Dallas Cowboys are
concerned, you know where I stand. Our team knows where I stand on the
issue."

The issue erupted in 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin
Kaepernick began protesting police brutality, social injustice and racial
inequality by kneeling during the national anthem. The demonstration spread to
other players and teams.

The NFL started requiring players to be on the field for the anthem in 2009,
the year it signed a marketing deal with the military. Jones had already owned
the Cowboys for 20 years when players moved from the locker room to the field
for the anthem.

Jones said he understood the point of view of players who say they aren't
protesting the flag or the military.

"This is a case where we need to in my mind check that and be real clear that
it is, the priority is about the flag, and be real clear about that," Jones
said. "Sometimes it's best to just be real clear and succinct so that nobody
misunderstands. I think that's our case."

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys don't have an anthem
issue because his father has made his stance clear from the beginning.

"I do understand when you see the back and forth," Stephen Jones said. "But
we've been consistent and we've never moved. Jerry's never changed his stance
once. I think he feels strongly about it."

The younger Jones didn't want to speak for the players when asked if Jerry
Jones' strong message is the reason none of his players have defied him.

"I was always brought up when you work for somebody and they're the boss, you
play by their rules," Stephen Jones said.

Jones Odubel
Herrera Jersey
, who drew praise from President Donald Trump when
he said last year that he would bench players, said Trump's continuing
involvement in the anthem issue is "problematic" for the league.

Trump weighed in again after news of the Dolphins' policy broke, tweeting
"The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand," a reference to Roger
Goodell.

"His interest in what we're doing is problematic from my chair and I would
say, in general, in the owner's chairs," Jerry Jones said. "And unprecedented if
you really think about it. But like the very game itself, that's the way it is
and we'll deal with it. But, yes, everybody would like for it to go away."

Unlike other sports organizations Adidas
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, the Cowboys haven't distanced themselves
from Papa John's after founder and CEO John Schnatter was ousted over a racial
slur.

Schnatter was already under fire for suggesting last year that the pizza
company's sluggish sales were a result of the controversy surrounding the
anthem.

Jerry Jones, who has had a close relationship with Schnatter, said the
Cowboys couldn't cut ties with the company because of an ownership stake in Papa
John's stores. Stephen Jones said the team was linked to 50 stores in the Dallas
area.

"I regret that for John," Jerry Jones said. "But at the end of the day we've
got too many people, too many customers, too many people that we just need to do
as good as we can do under the circumstances."

NOTES: DE David Irving was placed on the "did not report" list after getting
clearance from the Cowboys to deal with personal issues. Jerry Jones said he
didn't expect Irving to attend camp for the three weeks the Cowboys are in
California. ... DT Maliek Collins (foot) was placed on the physically unable to
perform list, while S Kavon Frazier and DE Randy Gregory are on the non-football
injury list. Gregory was recently reinstated from a yearlong ban for violating
the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

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