EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Odell Beckham, Jr.'s comeback season officially ended today when the Giants announced he will not play in the season finale Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys in MetLife Stadium. It will be the fourth consecutive game Beckham will miss because of the quad injury he suffered at Philadelphia on Nov. 25.
Despite his disappointment, Beckham managed to find something positive to say about having a second consecutive season cut short by injury.
"It leaves a huge chip on my shoulder for next year, and just the things that I know I'm capable of doing," Beckham said. "It's just time to do them, and put my best foot forward next year. I think next year will be the best year I've had in my entire career. That's the only positive that I can take from all of it. I wish that I could be playing, but it is what it is."
Beckham was limited to four games in 2017 because of two ankle injuries, the second a fracture that required surgery to mend. After an arduous rehabilitation that kept him out of game action for 11 months, he returned to the field in September determined to prove he is still one of the NFL's elite receivers. He accomplished that mission, but not his quest to play in every game.
"Obviously not the way I wanted to end the season," Beckham said. "You train all offseason for these 16 games, plus the chance to go to the playoffs, and it's definitely not the way I wanted to end the season. Disappointed – myself, teammates, everybody, just the whole community, and that's not the way I wanted to end it."
The Giants have begun each of the last four weeks hoping Beckham would be well enough to play.
"He's come in each Monday and said it felt better and we try to race him to game day," coach Pat Shurmur said. "Whatever he's dealing with there is just keeping him from playing."
"When you pull a muscle and you try to get back out there, it's just tough," said Beckham, who was leg-whipped on the final play in Philly by linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill. "You just need time off. The only thing that heals – everything is time, and we were just short on time at the moment. It's really nothing. Once you're over it, it's gone. It just was the timing of it. It's not very fortunate."
Keep an eye on these five players in the Giants' 2018 season finale
In addition to Beckham, four other Giants players have been declared out of Sunday's game: linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), defensive lineman Mario Edwards (calf) and wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle).
Beckham's 12-game season included 77 receptions for a team-high 1,052 yards and six touchdowns. He had season-high totals of nine catches in the victory at Houston on Sept. 23, 143 yards at Atlanta on Oct. 22, and two touchdowns at San Francisco on Nov. 12.
"He made plays, he helped us when he was in there," Shurmur said. "Unfortunately, he's missed the last month, so just look forward to getting him back."
When he returns next year, Beckham is confident he will be the receiver who captivated the football world and played in the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons.
"The sky is the limit," Beckham said. "Obviously, you want to play every single game. I have kind of a flukish little quad pull, strain, whatever you want to call it. It allows you to miss the last four games of the season. Like I said, the sky is the limit, and I know that next year is going to be tough on everybody I play, and that's just how I feel, that's how I'm coming. I do have a positive outlook for 2019-2020. I say this is going to be my year every year until it is going to be my year. So, next year is going to be my year, and if it's not next year, the year after is going to be my year. That's the goal every year."
The 2019 season will be Beckham's sixth, which, according to the NFL, is an average career length for a player who makes an opening day roster as a rookie. Is Beckham concerned he is running out of time to have the kind of season he believes he is capable of producing?
"No, not really," he said. "Not something you really look at. You just kind of stay in the moment. You think about the end, but I'm trying to play until I should pass (Hall of Fame wide receiver) Jerry (Rice, who holds the NFL record with 1,549 catches). That's the goal. However long that takes, I feel like I'm capable of doing it. To come back from major ankle surgery and have this, this is nothing. It just took me out of the last four games of the season. Not to say that it's not serious, because it obviously kept me out. I'll be fine."
He just has to wait a long time until he can prove it.
*Shurmur spent last night watching his son Kyle, the Vanderbilt quarterback, play his final collegiate game against Baylor in the Texas Bowl. Kyle Shurmur, the school's career record-holder in all major passing categories, completed 18 of 37 passes for 286 yards and a touchdown, but the Commodores lost, 45-38.
"It was quite a game," Pat Shurmur said. "A lot of offense. I thought he battled. I thought he did a lot of good things. Much like any game, they fell a few plays short of winning in a really high scoring affair. I watched him as a dad and I was proud of his efforts to this point. He's accomplished a great deal and he's done it because he's made good choices along the way, which has allowed him to go to such a great place like Vanderbilt. He's on a flight home with the family and he's got a Vanderbilt degree and he helped his team win a lot of games and a few records, so we'll sit down and maybe celebrate later this evening."