Odell Beckham Jr. cleared the air on Tuesday.
In his highly anticipated return to team-sanctioned activities, Beckham told reporters that he was not holding out during the team’s voluntary minicamp or sending a message about a new contract.
“I was just taking the time to train,” Beckham said. “Really grow and mature. … and you just have time to be able to reflect on life and learn new things.”
On a potential new deal (Beckham is still under contract for this season and next year’s fifth-year option): “I leave that in the hands of the man above. When that time comes that time comes. Right now is really not the time to discuss it. When it comes it will come.”
Beckham continued, “I come here to play football. I don’t really write the contract, I don’t really design it or anything like that. My agent knows 10 times more about it than I do. I just come here to do what I’ve always done, which is play football and do the very best I can on the field and like I said, the rest will take care of itself.”
The session seemed to go as expected. At this moment, Beckham and the football world that covers him seem to be operating in different orbits. Beckham has always had a clear vision for how to prepare his mind and body — one that might have been different from the Giants‘ upon arrival for his rookie season. At this point, as long as the on-field product aligns there should be no cause for concern. He talked about using the time away as a mental growth period but did not want to share what he learned about himself. This might seem standoffish, but imagine someone prodding you about your most personal thoughts.
On the contract front, Beckham has clearly outplayed his slotted rookie deal and it wouldn’t be surprising if his extended offseason training session was meant to send a message. His $1,839,027 salary for 2017 pales in comparison to the game’s top receivers despite Beckham finishing third in yards and fifth in touchdowns last season. His presence on the field has been a revelation for an aging Eli Manning and his route running skills continue to evolve alongside the defenses trying to stop him. In that way, it’s probably difficult for Beckham to understand why he had to explain himself at all on Tuesday.
Another banner season will make most everyone forget about a few days away in April and May.