It does not matter whether anyone agrees or not about the Giants’ decision to extend Odell Beckham Jr. for another five years. It’s moot whether or not the Giants bid against themselves. The bottom line is he is here whether anyone likes it or not.
The Giants were more than happy to deal with his nonsense by signing him to a five-year, $95 million contract extension last week. As Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said, you don’t quit on talent when mentioned about the possibility of the Giants mercurial wide receiver being traded in the offseason. Not only the Giants had zero interest in seeing him do well elsewhere, but they had no choice but to hope he grows into maturity.
Most Giants fans were on board with this signing. They were willing to overlook his lame performance against the Green Bay Packers in a wild-card playoff game, which he finished with four catches for 28 yards and dropped three passes, including a potential touchdown pass in the end zone that could have changed the complexion of the game. They certainly didn’t care if he acted like a five-year-old on game day. His highlight reels and his box-office smash value were too mesmerizing for Giants fans to gloss over his narcissistic behavior.
Now, it’s on Beckham to justify the Giants’ faith in him by playing well and most importantly, acting like an adult. It’s on him to change the narrative of what his critics think of him. It’s on him to behave like a leader by acting like a professional such as Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
It’s a sad commentary when an NFL team has to beg for a grown man to act like an adult because Beckham is immature to get it. Good thing for the diva wide receiver that he gives the Giants an identity and transforms them into a box-office smash that he will get another chance to grow up, even though he had plenty of opportunities in the last two years just to fail.
The Giants star said all the right things the day after he signed his extension. He talked about wanting to wear a gold jacket in representation of going to the Hall of Fame as a New York Giant. He mentioned he wants to win many Super Bowl championships as a Giant. He talked about the urgency of getting Manning his third championship ring before his quarterback’s best days are behind him. He wants to be the best receiver he can be.
What was interesting in this presser that the local media did not bother to mention was he did not guarantee that he would curb his behavior.
Beckman means well about wanting to do well as a New York Giant. No one can deny that. He wants to be in the class of Phil Simms, Taylor and Manning that were revered forever by Giants fans, and he knows for that to happen he has to win many Super Bowl championships. He also knows he can’t have the performance he had against the Packers in that playoff game.
He certainly gets what it’s like to play in New York and be a Giant. He deserves credit for understanding it, but saying it and doing it are two different things.
If Beckham wants to achieve those goals, he is going to have to act like a leader and take the game seriously. He should model his game after Larry Fitzgerald, a consummate professional who respects the game and conducts himself properly at all times. He has to conduct himself better at all times, and that includes when no one is watching.
When the Giants gave him an extension, it should go beyond his legendary performances. That means no more off-the-field controversies. No more behavior problems. No more rumors about him hanging out with celebrities or the Kardashians. No more stuff about him for the wrong reasons. No more about him being bigger than the Giants by being his own personal brand. Those days have to be over.
Beckham has to understand it’s more than just showing up on Sundays. It’s about seeing the big picture, which is being a positive influence on the young players and being the good cop to the head coach’s bad cop when Giants head coach Pat Shurmur lays down the law. If he wants to be taken seriously as a captain, how he conducts himself is going to be vital. He has to understand there are responsibilities that comes with being the Giants best player that he has to be accounted for.
His professionalism will set the tone of what the Giants are going to be about this year and beyond.
This season is going to be interesting in a sense we are going to find out Beckham the man. Is he going to handle being frustrated at times? Will he handle adversity and losing?
If he gets it, he and the Giants could have a great marriage to the point he could win multiple championships and wear that gold Hall of Fame jacket that he covets. It also means his career could end as a Giant.
If not, he will be another Jeremy Shockey, who will be remembered as a loser who could never have self-control for the Giants.
The choice is Beckham’s.