Odell Beckham Jr. has been called out numerous times in his NFL career. The New York Giants wide receiver usually brushes off such talk. The one thing he won’t tolerate is any criticism of his heart or effort.
Late in Sunday’s overtime victory over the Chicago Bears, Bears wide receiver Daniel Brown recovered an onside kick with just a minute left in regulation. Beckham appeared to be indecisive before ultimately diving to the ground for the ball.
Chicago marched down the field to a score a game-tying touchdown at the end of regulation. Despite the 30-27 Giants victory, Beckham was criticized for what appeared to be hesitation on his part during the onside kick.
“That’s fine,” Beckham said after the game. “It was a great kick. Sometimes, somebody makes a better play than you do. I can dive in there and still not get the ball. It was a very tough call. Nobody should ever question my effort or my heart. That’s the last thing you can do. You can question me as a person, as a man, whatever you want to do. But my heart and my effort can never be questioned—ever.”
In Beckham’s defense, safety Curtis Riley also missed on the onside kick. Riley’s miss allowed Brown an unimpeded shot at the ball.
Beckham seemed genuinely surprised at the questioning of his effort, especially since the Giants won for the third time in four games following their bye week. He was asked if he thought the ball was too far away from him.
“That sounds like a question that you was just asking to ask, kinda. You know?” Beckham said.
Beckham’s teammates have no qualms about his heart whatsoever. He even addressed the team at halftime as they held a 14-10 lead.
“Honestly, I addressed the team at halftime, and I told them there’s just something I had to get off my chest,” Beckham said. “I love these boys. Every time I put on a helmet, whether it’s practice or it’s a game, I’m going to give it my all, and I feel like I owed them more, to give them all of me and whatever that entails.”
Beckham finished with three receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown on fourth down. His biggest play of the day occurred when he threw a 49-yard touchdown to Russell Shepard, his second passing touchdown of the season.
“So, we drew a play up. I told (wide receiver) Bennie (Fowler), I don’t care what happens, I’m going to throw it to you, and they double covered him, and this grown man from LSU who I’ve played with for a long time,” Beckham said. “I saw him down the middle of the field, and I was like, this can’t be real, and I just launched it to him. It’s all good. He wasn’t supposed to do that, but he’s just playing football, and he came up with a huge play for us. Very, very, very big play.”
Head coach Pat Shurmur said he didn’t see the onside kick and will withhold comment until he watches the game tape. Shepard thought the questions surrounding Beckham’s heart and effort were foolish.
“I never question O’s effort,” Shepard said. “Never question his heart. He wants to win. He’s a big reason why we won. He gave us emotion. He gave us leadership. He said some things to us pregame and halftime that pushed us over the edge.”
Beckham has 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns this season. This is the fourth time in his five NFL seasons he has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark.
– 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.