New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the most dynamic offensive players in the NFL. He is the true definition of a game breaker. He is also emotional, sometimes to a fault, as we have seen when he embarrassed himself and the Giants with his behavior against Josh Norman a few years back.
The emotion was on further display last season when we witnessed him assault and then propose to and kiss a kicking net. The frustration level grew when Beckham and a number of his teammates went on a trip to Miami less than a week before their playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. A game in which Beckham underperformed and closed out the night by punching a hole in a wall at Lambeau Field.
Beckham has certainly had an interesting first three years in the NFL. He stamped himself a star in the league with his ridiculous one-handed touchdown catch against the Cowboys his rookie season. His pregame one-handed catch routine is jaw-droppingly impressive. He is a physical, athletic freak that lights up this city. He is a star.
With that being said, he certainly does have shortcomings and those are well-documented. He knows he is a "star" and that might be part of the issue. He is not a leader and has shown little to no leadership skills since stepping foot in the NFL.
I don’t care how long he is working with Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter, Beckham is the man and the player that he is. He is emotional and childish and immature, but the Giants need him and everyone knows it.
So, should we be surprised by the story that grabbed the headlines this past week that Beckham did not show up to OTAs?
They are voluntary, by the way.
Even with that being the case, everyone was up in arms that he did not show up across the river at the Giants practice facility in New Jersey.
Should we be surprised that he was catching footballs from former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL flameout Johnny Manziel? Should we be surprised that he was spotted partying with singer Iggy Azalea at an upscale bowling alley in L.A.?
Neither of those two previous sentences should surprise you and if they do, then you are not paying attention to what is going on.
Just because Eli Manning, Ben McAdoo, Jerry Reese and John Mara are all looking for OBJ to turn over a new leaf and mature does not mean that he will be doing that anytime soon.
He might be a distraction and might cause a headache or two, but he is a playmaker and makes the Giants offense better.
Plus, the Giants have not held him accountable for his behavior other than some strong statements of discontent.
Let’s not soon forget that Beckham just signed the largest shoe deal ever for an NFL player with Nike. He will reportedly make $29 million over five years and potentially $48 million over eight years. He is being rewarded handsomely with huge financial gains for who he is on and off the field. There is no pushback. There is only the sweet embrace of cash and acceptance. So why should he feel the pressure to change?
Not only is Beckham an NFL star receiver, but just as he dominates most defensive backs, he also is king on social media amongst the millennials. He has millions of followers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and his impact on those platforms is unquestioned.
Do yourself a favor and just look at the response of him retweeting some reactions about his no-show to OTAs. It is almost as if Beckham is trolling all of us. He knows the reaction he will get and that is part of his brand as he continues to get rewarded for promoting that kind of behavior.
So, how do you control something that is uncontrollable?
Beckham plays with emotion and his emotions help fuel the engine that makes him a dynamic wide receiver. The Giants are looking to try and get Beckham to buy in and fully commit and do it their way. But what is their leverage? They know they are a better football team with him on the field than without.
They would love to see him at OTAs but they can’t demand that he be there because it is voluntary. And just like everyone else, if Beckham performs at his usual elite level in the regular season and helps the Giants win games and make the playoffs, do you really care if he was at the Giants practice facility in May, stretching and running routes?
Do the Giants really care if he was not at OTAs if his regular season performance is still fantastic?
You see, that's the rub. He knows, as we all do, what time really matters on the NFL's calendar. That is autumn.
I think his no-show at OTAs is not that big a deal as long as he is set and ready to go when it really matters. All the fake shock and awe this week will not amount to much when the Giants open up their season against the Cowboys and Beckham is split out wide.
If you don’t think Beckham is committed to football, then you are lost. He might have a strange way of showing it at times, but there is no doubt in my mind that he loves the game that he plays and wants to go down as one of the best to ever play his position. He can help the Giants win, but you might need a bottle of Advil to deal with some of the headaches and the distractions.
Let’s appreciate the player that Odell Beckham Jr. is, flaws and all. He might frustrate you, but the Giants are certainly happy to have him and he knows that.