Pat Shurmur didn’t want to be drawn into a dialogue about Odell Beckham Jr. and the star wide receiver’s contract talks with the New York Giants. Instead, the head coach wanted to focus on the here and now with Beckham.
It is the first minicamp for Shurmur as head coach of the Giants and with it comes an important balancing act. While Shurmur must reshape the team and its morale following a devastating 3-13 season a year ago, he also walks a fine line when it comes to Beckham. The enigmatic star has created a list of distractions over the past three years, a talent who is as sublime as he is frustrating.
Now in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, the Giants are working to extend Beckham’s stay in New York. He is as talented of a wide receiver as there is in the league and even with some eccentricities to his personality, the Giants still want him back.
All of which, Shurmur said on Tuesday, isn’t a focus for him at the present time. The head coach didn’t want to engage in contract talks but rather football.
“What I’m concerned about is my relationship with him and him learning as much as he can through this offseason, so that when we get going he is ready to go,” Shurmur said. “Then my job as the coach, and our job as coaches, is to get him trained up and put him on the field. That’s what we worry about. This isn’t the first time in the NFL we’ve talked about a player and a contract. We just keep moving, keep developing our relationship within what is going on, and then we move forward and that’s where it’s at.”
The good news for the Giants is that Beckham and safety Landon Collins were back on the field on Tuesday, a sign that the injuries that ended the season prematurely last year for both star players have progressed and healed.
Shurmur wouldn’t comment on how far along in the process his star playmaker is, only saying that Beckham is “cleared to practice.”
And as for the pesky question — or make that questions — about Beckham and his contract, Shurmur is just engaged in the present three days of minicamp.
“I’m not worried about it and neither is he,” Shurmur said. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I look at a player that loves football, he’s out there right now doing his thing and he wants to be here and as the coach and the player, that’s what we talk about.”