Corey Clement ready to shine in Saquon Barkley’s absence

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Corey Clement has had some special moments in his four NFL seasons.

The most memorable of those came in Super Bowl LII, when he played a part in the famous “Philly Special’’ trick play that proved to be a catalyst in the Eagles’ victory over the Patriots.

He caught four passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in that game. What stood out, however, was when Clement, on fourth-and-goal in the second quarter, took a direct snap from center and pitched the ball to tight end Trey Burton, who threw a TD pass to quarterback Nick Foles.

“People still have fun with me with that,’’ the 26-year-old running back, who signed with the Giants in May, told The Post. “But I’m looking to build new memories here.’’

That should begin with the Giants’ preseason opener Saturday against the Jets at MetLife Stadium. Clement is certain to get a good share of carries because Saquon Barkley is not expected to play.

Clement is expected to share most of the early carries with Devontae Booker, another offseason free-agent acquisition signed as backfield depth behind Barkley, who’s coming off surgery for a torn ACL that wrecked his 2020 season.

Corey Clement
Corey Sipkin

It’s likely Barkley won’t play a down in any of the three preseason games. That will mean added work for Clement and Booker, battling to be Barkley’s backup as the team preps for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the Broncos.

“We may be with or without Saquon in the first game, but it doesn’t matter,’’ Clement said. “We understand the task at hand. Whether me or ‘Book’ or whoever else may have the first hand in the first game, we’ve got to be ready.’’

Corey Clement catches a touchdown in the 2019 Super Bowl.
Corey Clement catches a touchdown in Super Bowl LII.
Getty Images

Part of Clement’s lament over his NFL career to date is that, because of injuries, he has been unable to be ready as often as he’d like.

Following his rookie season in 2017, when he produced 321 rushing yards and four TDs before his Super Bowl heroics, he wasn’t particularly pleased at not being given a more significant role on the Eagles in 2018.

He ended up playing 11 games in 2018, rushing for 259 yards and two TDs and catching 22 passes for 192 yards, before missing the final month with a knee injury.

Clement’s 2019 season was cut short when he suffered a shoulder injury that landed him on injured reserve by October. Last season, he was used mostly on special teams, carrying the ball just 21 times for 75 yards and a TD.

He has proven himself to be a dependable receiver out of the backfield. He has caught 37 of the 46 passes targeted for him in his career, which has potential to be a safety-valve upgrade for quarterback Daniel Jones.

But Clement wants more. He wants to prove he’s more than the third-down back he has been typecast as if he’s needed to spell Barkley.

As special an athlete as Barkley is, questions remain about how good he will be when he returns and whether he’ll be able to stay healthy.

That’s why Clement, a native of Glassboro, N.J., and Booker were brought in.

“I saw this as another great opportunity,’’ Clement said. “As I went into free agency, I didn’t know where I was going to be. God opened up another door and said, ‘You get to play back in your home state, New Jersey.’ ’’

Aside from being a Jersey native, his signing with the Giants came with another fun factoid. On Sept. 24, 2017, in his third career game, Clement scored his first NFL touchdown against the Giants in a 27-24 Eagles win in Philadelphia.

Corey Clement talked to Saquon Barkley
Corey Clement talks to Saquon Barkley
for the NY POST

“I remember that play like it was yesterday,’’ Clement said. “It’s funny how everything in life makes a full 360.’’

Judge, who was a member of the Patriots coaching staff in the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles, said he has “admired’’ Clement’s game from afar.

“He’s got some experience and I was pleased with the way he came to rookie minicamp being a vet on a trial basis and really attacked it,’’ Judge said. “I liked the way he worked on a daily basis and liked what I saw in terms of him coming in in shape and condition and working on the field. That’s what led us to sign him.”

Clement is now ready to make a name for himself as a Giant.

“I look around this building and see nothing but accolades, Super Bowl [trophies] and history,’’ he said. “We [recently] had Osi [Umenyiora], we had [Justin] Tuck and [Phi] Simms come to talk to us and you understand the legacy they left.’’

Clement wants to be a part of a new legacy of success as a Giant.

“We’ve got what it takes on this roster to take us far,’’ he said. “I feel great about this team. I’m ready to make more moments here.’’

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