EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Odell Beckham Jr. was voted the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2014, but in his mind, he's still a first-year player.
"I've still got four more games," Beckham said today. "Hopefully, I can get Rookie of the Week the first week or something like that."
The award notwithstanding, Beckham does have a case. An NFL regular season consists of 16 games for each team, and Beckham played in just 12. That was enough for him to have the greatest season by a rookie receiver in NFL history, with 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was the first Giants player to be named Offensive Rookie of the Year in the 58-year history of the award.
But Beckham still feel he's owed those four games he missed at the beginning of the season with a hamstring injury. And until he plays a full 16, he's not alone in considering his status unchanged.
"Eli (Manning) tells me I'm a rookie all the time still, so you just have to take that and keep going every single day," Beckham said. "Try and inspire somebody."
Maybe Manning and his teammates are trying to inspire Beckham by calling him a rookie.
"I don't need them to call me rookie to be motivated," Beckham said. "I'm a pretty self-motivated person and I find things that tend to motivate me even more along the way. But, it's always nice to have (Manning) clowning around and messing with you, and it's all love. Whenever he jokes with you, it's just all out of love and that's what we do with each other."
Giants players meet the media before Training Camp practice
No matter how he designates his sensational receiver, Manning is happy to be throwing passes to Beckham.
"I'm just excited to get him back on the field and continue to work with him and see how we can grow," Manning said. "How he can grow within the offense, how he can get better and just get more advanced within the offense. It's not just about him, it's about all the receivers. All the receivers growing, myself growing within the offense and being able to put guys in different positions, move them around, create different matchups, different looks and get the best out of all of them."
The Giants will hold their first training camp practice this afternoon at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, and all eyes will be on Beckham. Not just because he is already one of the league's most accomplished and popular players. For the second year in a row, questions linger about Beckham's hamstring. This time it's on the left side, where a strained hammy forced him to miss most of the team's spring workouts, including the minicamp.
Giants players arrive at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center
Last year, he missed most of training camp and the entire preseason, as well as those first four regular-season games. Beckham's immediate objective is to stay on the field.
"It's very important just as far as being there and going through this stuff with your teammates," Beckham said. "Like I said before, I had never missed any practice, never missed any games. It's always been frustrating having to sit out and sit there and watch people practice. With football being what you love to do and to have to sit back and take the backseat, I would definitely rather be out there and barely be able to walk off the field than have to stand there and watch every single rep.
"I'm just ready to get out and practice. It has been a long time since we've been able to hit the field, and I'm excited."
Asked if he will be "full-go," Beckham said, "We'll see today, I guess."
Based on the numbers he posted last year, if Beckham plays all 16 games this season, he should catch more than 100 passes. But his seasonal goals have nothing to do with individual statistics.
"(My goal is) the same thing everybody else's goal would be - to win a Super Bowl," Beckham said. "I think at the end of the day that's the first thing you think about, is being there and being the last team to hoist up that (Lombardi) trophy."
With Victor Cruz returning from the knee surgery that limited him to six games last season and improving fourth-year pro Rueben Randle joining Beckham, the Giants could have one of the NFL's most dynamic receiving corps this season.
"I'm just excited to have Vic coming back, Reuben, who I just know that it's going to be one of those years for him," Beckham said. "Me playing alongside with him at LSU, I already know everything that he has. I think other teams tend to overlook him and that's not going to be the case this year. I'm extremely excited for what we have coming up and the guys that we have, and how everything looks. It looks like it's going to be a great year."