EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – He has football skills that are unparalleled and a new contract that will keep him financially secure if he lives to be 200, but Odell Beckham, Jr. said today he’s just getting started.
“This is kind of just something that you get out of the way,” Beckham said of the five-year contract extension he signed yesterday. “Honestly, it sounds crazy enough, but I don’t think I’ve done anything really since I’ve been here. I have goals for myself. I don’t think I have truly been able to achieve them, even with the success that I’ve had. It’s not really where I want to be. Like I said, before I was even in the NFL I wanted to be legendary. Yeah the money is great, you can take care of your family, you can take care of kids one day that you’ll possibly have. But my goal was always to be in the Hall of Fame, to win trophies, to be able to leave a legacy that will be remembered way past any money that you make.”
He is well on his way to leaving the kind of lasting imprint on both the Giants franchise and in the NFL that few receivers have previously achieved. He has played in only 47 regular-season games, but is already 10th on the Giants’ career list with 313 receptions. Beckham averaged 96 catches in his first three seasons, before he was limited to just four games in 2017 because of ankle injuries. Should he reach that total this year, he will rise all the way to No. 3 on the list – and that’s before this five-year contract extension kicks in.
The Giants fans, I love them. I love everybody who’s supported me wearing a 13 jersey, everybody who’s a Giants fan. They’re diehard Giants fans, and their love and support that they’ve given me since I’ve walked into this building has allowed me to be able to go out there. It’s extra motivation to go hard. Odell Beckham Jr.
Legendary, indeed. In fact, Beckham was asked what it would mean to him to be mentioned with some of the most accomplished players in Giants history, including Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor, teammate Eli Manning, and former quarterback Phil Simms.
“That’s a great list to be mentioned in,” Beckham said. “The Giants fans, I love them. I love everybody who’s supported me wearing a 13 jersey, everybody who’s a Giants fan. They’re diehard Giants fans, and their love and support that they’ve given me since I’ve walked into this building has allowed me to be able to go out there. It’s extra motivation to go hard. To be able to be mentioned with those guys and hopefully be able to do things that they did, hang up (championship) banners – that’s always the goal.”
As great and exciting as he is, even Beckham must remain productive for many more seasons and then actually retire before he’s considered for the Giants’ Ring of Honor.
While those are issues for the future, today’s primary news conference topic was the contract, which had been an obsession for some media members for months.
“You kind of dream about this moment all your life,” Beckham said. “In fact, you’ve dedicated everything, you sacrifice weekends, your parents have sacrificed weekend after weekend traveling, doing this and that just to be able to get to this point, so it is a relief and it’s a wonderful opportunity for myself and my family.
“I just wanted to get the contract done, whatever was going to happen with it was going to happen. It’s not like it’s going to change the way that I want to play and the way that I want to perform. I’m more, like I said, relieved to get it done and just be able to start a new chapter of my life. It’s exciting, and I’m very thankful for where I’m at.”
The best players earn the most money, of course, and because of that they are often expected to be team leaders. Does Beckham believe his new contract places additional leadership responsibility on him?
“I don’t know if it puts any extra that I haven’t already put on myself,” he said. “Coming in early in training camp, being able to be here and knowing where I’m at in life, and knowing that I do need to be a leader, and there are guys that are watching me and I need to be there on days that I need to be bringing energy somewhere else. I don’t know if it’s any extra responsibility that I didn’t already put on myself going into this year, year five, being a vet. I couldn’t say it was any extra, but I know that my goals are if not the same, higher. I just want to be able to be my very, very best.”
Team president John Mara said it was important this offseason that Beckham showed signs of maturity this offseason. Beckham refrained from the behavior that Mara has frowned upon in the past. And while other players whose contracts were being negotiated declined to join their teams in the spring, Beckham was a regular participant in the Giants’ offseason program. He reported for training camp on day one and has not missed a practice.
“I’m growing up,” he said. “Honestly it just was something that, I won’t say proud of anything that’s ever happened, but I’m able to take everything that’s happened for me and make myself into a man and learn from those mistakes and be able to look myself in the mirror and have to deal with those things. It wasn’t the best thing to happen to me to date, but what I got to learn and take and grow from, was everything that I needed in my life and now I’m able to take that and keep going forward, and just be the best me that I can be.”