Saquon Barkley’s mother helped him through difficult times

Tonya Johnson didn’t need her wildest imagination to imagine such a comeback season from her son Saquon Barkley.

“I believe that anyone and everyone can come back from something,” Tonya told The Post. “It was not life-threatening. You have life-threatening things – “Well, you have six to seven months to live” or “you will.” And sometimes people with such a diagnosis, sometimes they go beyond what the doctors say.

“So my motto is: anything is possible.”

He’ll be at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, with Bronx native Barkley, who suffered a neck injury in practice, itching to challenge the 11-1 Eagles and earn the first playoff berth of his five-year career. a second contract that would allow him to fulfill his lifelong Giants dream.

“We’re from New York,” Tonya said. “Born and raised in New York, it would be a blessing. Wherever he is – if he’s in New York, if he’s not – we’ll support him. But New York would be ideal It would be great if he stayed a New York Giant for the rest of his life.

A dream goal for a boy in a dream.

“I’ve been there from the beginning until now,” Tonya said, “and just to get back on that field to see her determination and determination and all the hard work she’s put into getting her body right. your mind is right, because when your mind is right, your body will focus with it…so proud of it.

Saquon Barkley's mother, Tonya Johnson, hugs her daughter as she looks on before a game against the Panthers in September.
Saquon Barkley’s mother, Tonya Johnson, hugs her daughter as she looks on before a game against the Panthers in September.
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He won’t soon forget watching Week 2 of the 2020 season on TV when his son tore his ACL in Chicago.

“Devastating to me because I wasn’t there,” he recalls. “Usually we go to away games but I wasn’t at that one so it was devastating not to be there to watch it on TV and physically comfort him.”

He remembers how his voice sounded when he spoke that fateful day.

“She was in tears and she said, ‘Mom, I don’t know what it is.’ But it’s not good,” said Tonya. “You can hear their voices. I wouldn’t say she physically shed tears, but I could hear the sobs in her voice.

She told him, “I told her everything would be fine. No matter what happens, you can always stand up. Never forget that.’

The next day he went home and told her, “It’s just one stop on the way.”

He hugs his son before every home game.

“I tell him, ‘You know what you’re capable of with your mind, your body and your heart, so you go out there, be safe and play hard.’ “I love you,” said Tonya.

Before road games, he writes: “We watch, we play, we play safe, we play smart, we play hard, we love you. Give them the fear of God.” .

He remembers Saquon considering quitting football when he was 11 or 12 because of politics. After all these years, he became the father of two children.

“She has kids, so she knows she has to push forward for her kids,” Tonya said. “As his father used to say when he was young and he was about to quit football, he said, ‘If you quit one thing in life, you quit everything.’ “

Barkley is a nominee for the Giants’ Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his work at Covenant House, an organization primarily for homeless teens and young adults.

“He brings these kids to every game, they come with the coach, they come out, they see him before the game and then after the game,” Tonya said. “A person has his own story. It touches his heart and mine because I am there. It will continue to motivate him more.”

Saquon was homeless for about eight months in elementary school.

“We couldn’t get into the shelter system,” Tonya said. “It was like moms and kids, but dads weren’t allowed to go. Saquon and his sister went with a friend from Bethlehem [Pa.]”.

Saquon Barkley celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the Giants' loss to the Giants.
Saquon Barkley celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the Giants’ loss to the Giants.
Getty Images

Saquon’s other charity is Children of Promise, for teenagers and young adults whose parents or guardians are serving life sentences.

A mother has many reasons to be proud of her son.

“I’m proud of her because she stayed true to herself,” Tonya said, “and continued to do what she loved. She played a sport with her father that she saw on TV and dreamed of doing. And he fulfilled his dream.”

These are the first meaningful December games of Barkley’s career, and nobody deserves them more. Aaron Judge is thrilled to have achieved his goal of staying in New York and wants to find out first-hand why there isn’t a better place to win.

“I don’t know Aaron personally, but any time you see an athlete that works hard, puts in the money and gets the contract he deserves or the contract he wants, it’s truly a blessing,” Barkley said. The Post, “whether it’s football, basketball, baseball, hockey. At the end of the day, we don’t play the same sport, but we all put our bodies through hell and spend a lot of time away from our families and loved ones, practicing our craft. It’s not all about money, but it’s part of it. It was the goal he wanted. He made it.”

Tonya Johnson’s son, the face of the franchise, deserves his due.


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