New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who created a stir with his decisions to skip Eli Manning’s annual passing camp at Duke and, more recently, the team’s voluntary 10 OTAs, has reported to the Giants facility in East Rutherford to take his physical ahead of the start of the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp.
All’s well that ends well, right?
Not so fast. When it comes to Beckham, a lightning rod for media attention, nothing is ever easy.
It’s been more than six months since Beckham last met with the media—the last time he spoke was after the Giants’ playoff loss to Green Bay.
Since then a lot has happened in his offseason. There was his alleged hole punching incident in Green Bay followed the day after by general manager Jerry Reese coming right out and saying that it was time for Beckham to “grow up” and think about some of the things he does.
More recently, Beckham has taken a passive-aggressive approach via his retweets of those opinions that supported any attempts to silence those who opined that he should have been at OTAs.
That includes head coach Ben McAdoo who delivered his own passive-aggressive message when asked about the absences of his key players: “You want all of your players here, especially your great players. It’s a time to build fundamentals, communication, chemistry, and trust. So you want all your players here, especially the great ones.”
It’s unknown if Beckham will speak with the media this week, a crowd which could very well rival the size of the usual postseason group. It’s also unknown if Beckham will take part in all the drills or sit out due to any kind of “soreness” to mask any potential discord with his current contract or to protect himself from a potential devastating injury that could jeopardize his chances of cashing in on a big payday.
Here is a look at some other storylines to watch for during the Giants’ three-day mandatory minicamp.
Defensive end Olivier Vernon, who also skipped out on the OTAs, supposedly so he could remain in the warmer climate that is Miami, is in the building as well, a source confirmed.
Vernon isn’t anywhere near the lightning rod that Beckham is when it comes to media attention, largely because he limits his use of social media and doesn’t have much to say when he does speak witht he press. however, there will be questions posed to the team’s second-highest paid player seeking clarity about what went into his decision to stay away.
Last week, Vernon, a lifelong Miami native, attended Giants director of player development David Tyree’s charity bowling event in Manhattan where he allegedly complained to teammate Jay Bromley about the damp and miserable weather that blanked the New York tri-state area for most of May and June.
Vernon, like Beckham and the rest of the NFL players, has a right to train however and where ever he wants, but he might have been better off keeping any opinions about the weather to himself .
The Giants capped their OTAs with several players sidelined, among them cornerbacks Eli Apple (hamstring), Donte Deayon (known), and Mykkele Thompson (knee), tight end Rhett Ellison (calf), and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee).
The injuries at cornerback are of slight concern given that it’s one of the thinnest positions on the team now. Apple hasn’t worked since tweaking his hamstring during the third OTA. Thompson had been gradually building up toward making a full return, but his inactivity last Friday would seem to suggest he had some degree of a setback that left him sore.
Ellison’s calf injury is a concern. Although the tight end said it wasn’t related to the torn patellar tendon injury he suffered in the 2015 regular-season finale, this story is unfolding almost identical to that of former receiver Victor Cruz, who in trying to work his way back from a similar injury, developed a calf issue that he would later admit was brought on by his overcompensation for the knee.
Thomas is unlikely to work in this minicamp, the goal being to get him ready for training camp.
The third member of the team that is believed to have been absent for the entire 10-day OTA period is defensive end Owa Odighizuwa.
Odighizuwa, remember, fired off an eyebrow raising, mysterious tweet in which he hinted he was going to take some time away from the game.
He later walked backed those comments and was said to have been a participant in the team’s weight training program back in April.
Since then, the Giants shave drafted Avery Moss at defensive end. More recently, they signed veteran defensive end Devin Taylor.
Does all that mean Odighizuwa, who needed to have a strong year this year after two forgettable seasons, isn’t coming back?
McAdoo nor defensive line coach Patrick Graham wouldn’t say, but it sure doesn’t look or sound promising.
Some Actual Football
No, the three-day minicamp won’t be a padded affair with contact, but it will be the closest thing to actual football thus far this offseason.
McAdoo said they plan to make the days a little longer and polish up all the new concepts they put into place over the spring so that by the time the camp concludes, they will have gone out on a good note.
Among those player who have had a solid OTA period include receiver Sterling Shepard, tight ends Evan Engram and Matt LaCosse, and linebacker B.J. Goodson.