Odell Beckham Jr. spoke to reporters for the first time since breaking his left ankle last October. Because of his path to making it back, the New York Giants wide receiver is calmer, more mature, and thankful to be back on the field.
“I literally watched my world turn upside down,” Beckham said. “I watched relationships close to me devour and things go wrong, and things go sideways. It was a lot of pain that I went through in the last 10 months.”
Beckham’s ankle snapped in the fourth quarter of a 27-22 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 8. The Giants lost four wide receivers in that game, three of them (including Beckham) to season-ending injuries. The Chargers loss was the fifth a row to start a season that saw the Giants go 3-13. The 13 losses were the most by the Giants since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978.
“So, just kind of taking it day by day and trying my best to just make my mindset every day that I wake that I’m going to be happy,” Beckham said. “I am going to do this right. I am going to do the very best that I can in whatever it is, whatever it is I am doing. I changed my mindset and it helped me a lot in everything.”
Beckham’s path back to the field was an arduous one. He had to undergo a long, painful rehabilitation process. He said there were nights where he had to crawl up three flights of stairs just to get his bedroom.
In addition, there were reports the Giants were looking to trade him before the NFL Draft. Then, there is the seemingly endless barrage of social media posts and videos about Beckham away from the gridiron. Some of Beckham’s social media attention is self-inflicted but says he has learned to deal with the spotlight better now.
“I remember I used to say all the time: ‘Don’t take it personal’ and stuff,” Beckham said. “But I still took things personal and I really have gotten that out of my heart not to take anything personal. And with doing that, it’s left things that I used to worry about out of the equation. So, once you can really put that in your heart, don’t take it personal and you can feel that, it’s a completely different story.”
One of the things Beckham is not be concerned over is his contract situation. He will play 2018 under the fifth-year option of his rookie deal. He’s coming off an injury and a new regime is in the Giants front office. Beckham showed good will with his presence at the team’s offseason workouts, organized team activities (OTAs), and minicamp.
The team and Beckham began contract negotiations last week. Zeke Sandhu, Beckham’s agent, and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams were seen together at Giants practice Thursday. Sandhu and Abrams were seen speaking on the patio overlooking the practice field for about two hours.
Beckham once said he wanted to be the NFL’s highest-paid player, later amending his comments to be the NFL’s highest paid wide receiver. Beckham still wants to be the NFL’s highest paid receiver, a title currently held by the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown (who will make $17 million a year in his current four-year deal. However, he is leaving the contract negotiations to his agent.
Beckham surprised everyone with his presence at the Giants’ practice facility throughout the spring. He continued to shock and amaze by showing up for the start of training camp, a move two other high-profile members of the draft Class of 2014 didn’t make. Instead, holding out, Beckham is placing his faith in his agent and the team.
“They’ll get it done when they get it done,” Beckham said. “Let my agent and them figure it out…optimistic? Yeah, I’m optimistic. I’m confident it’ll all work itself out. Life always does. I just know, do what you’re supposed to be doing, and the rest will always take care of itself. Life has a funny way of reminding you who’s in control and it’s done that.”
Beckham began communicating with head coach Pat Shurmur almost immediately Shurmur was hired to succeed Ben McAdoo. Shurmur traveled to Los Angeles to meet with Beckham and the two spent a great of time texting each other. Beckham likes Shurmur’s offense because it will give him an opportunity to line up at different spots.
Most importantly, he is just happy to be back on the field.
“I love football,” Beckham said. “Football was always a release for me, it was always how I could get everything out, and just being able to be back out on the field like I said. I remember waking up at four in the morning and crawling upstairs to my bed, and laughing to myself, like this is going to be a hell of a ride for you to get back to where you’re at
“And now I’m here, and there’s still a lot more for me to do. It’s truly, I’m just thankful, that God is able to put me back out there.”
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.