When you’re a 23-year old millionaire football star life isn’t supposed to be hard. But if, as a 23-year millionaire football star, you are known to be prone to the occasional emotional outburst, and defenders can get into your head rather easily, as demonstrated by cornerback Josh Norman, life can be more difficult.
For Odell Beckham, Jr., the uneasiness of his life seems to be of his own making. From yelling on the sidelines, to no one in particular, to picking a fight with the practice kicking net, to telling an ESPN reporter that football isn’t “fun anymore,” to his head coach going so far as to call him a “distraction,” all is not well with Beckham.
The Giants needn’t look further than the situation with another NFC team, Detroit, who had its superstar wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, abruptly retire after last season because in his words, he was “fed up with football.” And money isn’t always enough to keep a star happy, as again Johnson demonstrated by retiring with more than $67 million still remaining on his contract.
The Giants are taking the cautious approach with their star, Ben McAdoo’s comment not withstanding. They have refused to discipline Beckham for his sideline outbursts and post-game playing of the victim card. Instead, they believe that the elixir for Beckham’s malaise about football is simply to try and uptick his production. Sunday’s game against Green Bay was a start, with Beckham getting his first touchdown of the season.
Perhaps most importantly for the Giants, the game with Green Bay (a 23-16 loss) was completely Beckham tantrum free. In fact, Beckham planted a big kiss on the kicking net in an effort to bury the hatchet, and quipped, “We hugged it out. Last time I hit him, he hit me back.”
Beckham’s performance aside, the Giants still have a lot of work to do along the offensive line, which has been effecting the production of everyone. Eli Manning was sacked three more times on Sunday, and overall Manning has thrown just five touchdowns in five games, and not surprisingly the Giants are just 2-3 on the season.
When Johnson retired, he emphasized that it wasn’t the lack of winning in Detroit that led him to quitting. It was just football in general that he had grown tired of. The Giants, of course, have a quarterback with a pair of Super Bowl rings and an expectation that more championships aren’t that far away. But it’s worth noting that in the brief time that Beckham has been in a Giants uniform, they haven’t made the playoffs with a pair of 6-10 records in his two completed seasons.
Fun or not, everyone in the NFL wants to win. A few more Ws and a couple of more TDs, and it’s expected that all be smoothed over with Beckham and his teammates.