EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants will be represented in the Pro Bowl after all.
The NFL today announced that rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will play in the Pro Bowl on Jan. 25. Originally a first alternate, Beckham is replacing Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who is unable to play due to injury.
"It is definitely awesome," Beckham said. "It is something that means a lot to me, and I am definitely going to cherish the moment. I'm very excited to be going to the Pro Bowl.
"The goal (entering the season) is to be either in the Pro Bowl or the Super Bowl. That is every year. That is something you want to be able to build on and put that on your resume. (We) didn't end up making it to the Super Bowl, but I did get the invite to the Pro Bowl, so I am very excited and blessed for the opportunity."
Beckham will be the first Giants rookie to play in the Pro Bowl since tight end Jeremy Shockey in 2002. He will be the team's first wide receiver in the game since Victor Cruz in 2012. Beckham is the first Giants rookie wide receiver ever selected to the Pro Bowl.
Te 12th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Louisiana State, Beckham is one of the five finalists for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year Award. Beckham had a sensational rookie season, despite playing in only 12 games (he missed the first four games with a hamstring injury).
He set team rookie marks with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. Beckham finished the season with four consecutive games with at least 130 receiving yards and a touchdown, seven games with over 100 receiving yards total and nine straight games with 90 or more receiving yards (tying Michael Irvin's NFL record, set in 1995).
Beckham surpassed Billy Howton (1,231 with Green Bay in 1952) for the most receiving yards in NFL history for a player in his first 12 career games. Beckham's 1,305 yards are the third-highest total in Giants history, trailing only Victor Cruz's 1,536 yards in 2011 and Amani Toomer's 1,343 yards in 2002. Beckham was nominated for Pepsi Rookie of the Week seven times, winning the award four times.
The Pro Bowl will be played in University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., one week before Super Bowl XLIX is held there. For the second year in a row, the players will not be divided by conference for the Pro Bowl. Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin will serve as captains of the teams and will draft players on Jan. 20-21.
The game itself is usually one in which a lot of yards are gained and points are scored.
Giants.com takes a look at Giants in the Pro Bowl through the years.
"Anytime as an offensive player there is a lot of offense on the field, it is definitely going to be a game that you are into," Beckham said. "I'm very blessed for the opportunity and I am looking forward to it."
The other wide receivers currently scheduled to play in the Pro Bowl are Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, Dallas' Dez Bryant, Cincinnati's A.J. Green, Indianapolis T.Y. Hilton, Green Bay's Jordy Nelson, Atlanta's Julio Jones and Denver's Demaryius Thomas.
It's exciting just being able to learn from them and see them every day," Beckham said. "They are some of the best in the league, and it is definitely going to be an experience that is going to be one to remember."
his is the 18th consecutive season in which the Giants will have at least one player in the Pro Bowl. Last year, safety Antrel Rolle was added to the roster after first being selected as an alternate.
I definitely thought there was a chance I would play (in the game)," Beckham said. "I wish I would have made the team originally and not as an alternate, but that is okay. That is something to work for next year."