Penn State Football

‘Setting an example’: Saquon Barkley excited to become a father, ‘role model’

April is going to be a big month for Saquon Barkley

Former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley talks about being drafted and becoming a father in April.
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Former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley talks about being drafted and becoming a father in April.

Saquon Barkley’s April is going to be a busy one — and he’s ready for it.

Barkley, a consensus All-American and projected top-tier pick in next month’s NFL draft, is also set to become a father. He and his girlfriend, Anna Congdon, announced over the weekend that the couple is expecting a baby.

Barkley said after Penn State’s Pro Day on Tuesday that the due date is April 14. Two weeks later, Barkley will be in Dallas, hearing his name called early in the first round. That’s a lot for a 21-year-old to handle in such a short amount of time, but Barkley is “excited” for both opportunities.

“I’m looking forward to being a role model and setting an example for my kid,” the running back said. “That’s the most important thing I’m focused on right now: Being a better father and a better player every single day.”

Barkley and Congdon don’t know the gender of their future child; that’ll be a surprise. Barkley said he’d love for his first child to be a boy, but ultimately doesn’t have a preference.

Regardless, Barkley knows that now everything he does, he’s doing for his future family.

“Now, you have to take more of a bigger role, be more responsible,” he said. “Now, you’re not just training for yourself and training to be great; this is how you provide for your family, and you also have to look at football from the business side.”

That business side is looking pretty good for Barkley.

He signed with Roc Nation shortly after the Fiesta Bowl, has a deal with Nike, became an exclusive athlete with Panini America’s memorabilia division and, of course, is going to ink a healthy contract in a month or so. For reference, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, who was drafted No. 4 overall in last year’s draft, signed a four-year, $27.1 million deal with a $17.8 million signing bonus.

It’s not all about the money, though, and Barkley understands that. He talked extensively about being “open and honest” with his kid and learning from his father’s mistakes and his own faults.

Knowing him for years, former Penn State safety Marcus Allen believes Barkley will be a “great father.”

“And I’m going to be his godfather,” Allen said with a signature smile. “So we good.”

Yes, according to Allen, he is Barkley’s future baby’s godfather. The two have been best friends for a while, and they’ve trained together in preparation for Tuesday’s Pro Day and the NFL draft.

When asked about the pressure-filled road ahead of Barkley — between having a child and being drafted in the first round — Allen said simply, “I think that’s called life.”

“That’s something that we all experience,” the safety said. “Saquon’s going to take great care of that baby.

“And I’m going to take great care of that baby, as well. ‘Cause I’m the godfather.”

John McGonigal: 814-231-4630, @jmcgonigal9