Odell Beckham Jr. keeps focus on football

Posted Jun 14, 2016

Odell Beckham Jr. talks off-the-field attention while keeping his focused on the Giants: 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Odell Beckham Jr. has completed only two NFL seasons, but no player garners as much attention on and off the field as the Giants’ record-breaking wide receiver.

“I feel like, if I hid under a rock for 364 days and I came out on the 365th and someone saw me somewhere, there’s going to be a story about it,” Beckham said today. “Something is going to happen, I’m going to hear about it, it’ll be here and it’ll be there. I think people just need something to talk about sometimes.


“I remember coming into the league … there was guys, Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, guys who are brothers in my class. They’re guys who I compete against, who I wanted to be talked about the way that they were talked about. I was like, ‘Man, they never talk about me.’ And I tell people now, be careful what you ask for, because I used to crave that. I used to want to be talked about and people to know what I was capable of, and now it’s like they want to know everything. They want to know each and every detail, and like I said, I really tell them just be careful what you ask for.”

This offseason, Beckham was living in the home of hip hop artist Drake. He revealed this to MMA star Ronda Rousey in a video for Draft Kings. And there were plenty of social media mentions of his comings and goings.

But to Beckham, all that pales in importance to football. Today, he was in the venue that gives him the greatest comfort and pleasure, a football field, when the Giants opened a three-day minicamp. But it was indicative of his celebrity that he entertained more non-football questions than the rest of his teammates combined.

“It’s great to get back to football, but at the end of the day, I hate that that causes so much distraction for my team and for myself,” he said. “Especially when a lot of the stuff is not so much true, and there’s just all kinds of things that they come up with. It’s what comes with the territory, though, so … (laughs) I just have to get used to it.”

Eli Manning, who has avoided controversy in his 12 years with the Giants, was asked if he has spoken to Beckham about his life out of uniform.

“No,” Manning said. “I mean, hey, I am 35 and he is 24, so that is the reason why I am staying out of Page 6 and he is in it. No, I enjoy reading it, because it is good material to joke around with.”

Beckham’s play, of course, has been no laughing matter. He has been a spectacular player since the Giants selected him 12th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. That season’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, he has 187 catches, 2,755 yards and 25 touchdowns, all franchise records for a player in his first two Giants seasons. The yardage total is an NFL record for a two-season player.


And though it doesn’t get as much attention as some of his other off-the-field activities, Beckham is working extremely hard to be even more productive this year.

“At the end of the day, this is my sanctuary, this is where I come and I feel free,” he said after practice. “This is my getaway from all the outside distraction that this world provides. This is the only place where I can’t be bothered or … I’m really just free when I get out here. I feel like a kid again.”

Beckham is particularly excited about his prospects for the 2016 season. He envisions a healthy Victor Cruz returning to the field and rookie Sterling Shepard stepping in and instantly becoming an additional headache for opposing defenses.

“He’s going to be a phenomenal player,” Beckham said of Shepard. “He can run routes, he can catch, he can pretty much do it all. So I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him develop.”

When asked what having Cruz back does for him, Beckham raised his arms in a touchdown signal.

“It’s too many weapons (for the defense to cover), it’s hard,” Beckham said. “Last year, we had a lot of teams rolling coverages my way and coach (Ben) McAdoo did a great job of just moving me around, putting me in the right place at the right time, and giving me the opportunity to make plays. Now you can’t do that so much. You try and roll somebody this way, you put Shep one-on-one, and I’ve seen what he can do. So, I’m happy with that. If you want to roll people my way, you want to emphasize me more, you’ve got 80 (Cruz) and 87 (Shepard) that are going to pick you apart essentially. We’ve got backs coming out the backfield - Bobby Rainey, a guy who I’ve seen able to get open on third down (and) get us a first down and keep drives alive. Shane (Vereen), all these other weapons. I just don’t see us not being successful. I don’t think that’s the mindset of this team.”

•  Linebacker J.T. Thomas, safety Mykkele Thompson, defensive tackle Montori Hughes and tight end Matt LaCosse are sidelined with lower leg injuries. “We are going to hold onto those guys until camp,” McAdoo said.

•  McAdoo has also been impressed with Shepard.

“He is a young, conscientious player,” McAdoo said. “He has made a lot of plays here in the offseason, and he is going to have an opportunity to earn that (starting) spot.”