EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Odell Beckham Jr. is going to simultaneously change and remain the same.
The Giants' record-breaking receiver returned to the practice field today after serving his one-game NFL suspension, which caused him to miss the team's loss in Minnesota last Sunday. He will return to the field for the Giants' season finale this week, at home vs. Philadelphia.
Beckham vows he will be the same energetic and expressive figure that made him the NFL's most exciting player, a receiver unique in Giants history, and a Pro Bowler in each of his first two seasons. But the extracurricular activity during the game against Carolina 10 days ago that got him in trouble with the league is going to end.
"I don't think I'm going to change the way that I play, but I think I'll change the actions that were on the field that Sunday," Beckham said today. "It's not what we should be doing, it's not what I would want to represent the Giants as, and like I said, most importantly it's not something that I would want the kids looking up to and learning from me that way. That's definitely not what I want to put out there for them."
Moments later, in response to another reporter's question, Beckham reiterated his determination to make changes when the issue is not catching a football.
"I don't think I'm going to change the way that I play football," he said. "I don't think anything is going to change except learning from this experience. I don't think that I'm going to play with less intensity or I don't think I'm going to play with less emotion. This is football, and this is what I love. I love it and, like I said, you just learn from it."
Beckham was suspended for repeated transgressions against the Panthers, most of them involving his game-long duel with cornerback Josh Norman. The two players drew a combined five unsportsmanlike conduct penalties while engaging in physical skirmishes during and after many plays. Beckham was suspended; Norman was fined.
Today, Beckham worked with little fanfare as the Giants began preparing for the Eagles.
"He just attended the meetings and he was very quiet, to be honest with you," Coughlin said. "Took part in everything. The guys, I'm sure, welcomed him back. He just came in, took his seat like he always does, and we went to work."
The Giants are confident Beckham will have no lingering issues from his suspension.
"I have no question he'll be ready," offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said.
Beckham has been the Giants' most productive and exciting player. He leads the team with 91 catches for 1,396 yards and 13 touchdowns. Even with the missed game, Beckham has a chance to join Steve Smith (107 catches in 2009) as the only players in franchise history with 100 receptions in a season, and to set team records in the latter two categories (he already shares the touchdown receptions mark with Homer Jones).
In addition to his exceptional statistics, Beckham plays with unmatched emotion and passion. While the Giants don't want him crossing the line into incidents that get him suspended, they don't want to curtail that part of his makeup.
"I like his energy, love his passion," McAdoo said. "I like them salty. I'm speaking the truth, I like that physicality, I like that in a player, a guy who does walk the line and is physical and combative and wants to contest everything that happens. I think that's what makes him who he is. We've just got to keep the flags in the officials' pockets.
"I would believe that everyone understands that there are a lot of cameras on Odell, because of the impact that he can have on a game, and the type of star figure that he has. It doesn't matter what medium you're in, he attracts a lot of attention and there are going to be a lot of cameras on him, and everything he does is going to be dissected and that is as evident as ever."
Beckham continues to take full responsibility for what happened, as he did in issuing a lengthy apology when the suspension was announced last week. He will continue to be the player and person he's always been. But now he'll refrain from actions that get him in trouble.
"What happened was I wasn't controlling myself, and ended up hurting my team - big penalties, and it was a poor display of sportsmanship and not something you would want to put on film," Beckham said. "All you can do in life is move forward, you can't get the moment back, you can't get the opportunities back, you can't go back in time, and you just learn from it."
Beginning Sunday, Beckham vows to show that he has.
• Five players did not practice today, including three because of concussions: safeties Cooper Taylor and Craig Dahl, and tackle Marshall Newhouse. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (ankle) were also sidelined.
Wide receiver Dwayne Harris (back/shoulder) was limited.
• Cornerback Prince Amukamara has been named the winner of the 15th annual George Young Good Guy Award, as voted on by the Giants' chapter of the Professional Football Writers of America.
The award, named for the late general manager of the Giants, is given annually to honor a Giants player for his consistent and outstanding cooperation with the writers who cover the team on a daily basis. Amukamara, has long been one of the most accessible players in the locker room, generous with his time, and always willing to give thoughtful answers on any topic.
Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins finished second in the voting (for the second straight year). Offensive lineman Justin Pugh finished third. In all, eight different players received votes from members of the Giants media.
Previous winners of the award were:
2015 – CB Prince Amukamara
2014 – RB Rashad Jennings
2013 – CB Terrell Thomas
2012 – S Antrel Rolle
2011 – WR Victor Cruz
2010 -- DT Barry Cofield
2009 -- DE Mathias Kiwanuka
2008 -- QB Eli Manning
2007 -- DE Justin Tuck
2006 – WR Plaxico Burress
2005 -- RB Tiki Barber
2004 -- QB Kurt Warner
2003 -- WR Ike Hilliard
2002 -- QB Kerry Collins
2001 -- OL Lomas Brown
Photos from Wednesday's Giants practice