Odell Beckham Jr. had a high-profile season last year, mostly for all of the wrong reasons. Thus, you would expect him to put his head down, get to work, and do whatever he could do to show the Giants, and their fans, that he is serious about winning and being a team player – like, you know, showing up for voluntarily workouts.
Nope. Beckham skipped OTAs Thursday.
Should Beckham necessarily take heat for this, though? After all, voluntary workouts are voluntary, right?
“Yeah, but the voluntary part is in quotes,” New York Daily News writer Gary Myers said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “The best players on the team are supposed to set an example for everybody else and show up for these things. With training camp limited now – there’s no two-a-days and the offseason program starts later than it ever has – these OTAs take on more importance than they have in the past. Now will it result in one fewer catch or one fewer yard during the season because he’s not there? Probably not, but I just think it’s a bad look that the team is in New Jersey and he’s out in California. The message he’s sending is, ‘I’m too big to be with you guys. I’m going to do my own thing and I’ll show up when I have to.'”
By the numbers, Beckham had a monster 2016 season: 101 catches for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns. But he struggled to stay out of the spotlight for immature antics, which had to draw the ire of some of his teammates.
“It sounds cliche, but it’s true: it really is the ultimate team sport, and this stuff does not go unnoticed,” Myers said. “So I think this is a bad thing he’s doing.”
The Giants haven’t criticized Beckham publicly – aside from head coach Ben McAdoo saying he’d like all of his players at OTAs – but in private, they probably feel frustration.
“I think deep down, the team is probably ticked off at him,” Myers said. “Nobody wants to say it because it’s voluntary and if management starts coming down on him for not being there, then it violates the spirit of the CBA because it is not mandatory. But it’s kind of the unspoken thing that you show up at these. To me, he’s just separating himself from the team, and there’s no need for that. He is the best player, and I just think he needs to be there. He and Eli do not have nearly the success rate on targets versus completions than, say, Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown do. That’s one of the things that McAdoo has talked about in the offseason: more of Eli’s passes to Beckham need to be completed. Well, this is the time of year in no-pressure situations you work on those type of things. Him catching passes from Johnny Manziel doesn’t do the Giants any good.”