Odell Beckham of the New York Giants is a target for opposing defenses, both within the rules and sometimes outside of them. He knows it. When Victor Cruz suggested earlier this week that the Jacksonville Jaguars were "gunning" for Beckham, the young mega-star agreed. Wednesday, Beckham said some of that might be "self-inflicted."
"I know maybe a little self-inflicted with that, that's what it's going to be like," Beckham said. "I'm just going to be a target in other people's eyes, something that I have to look out for."
Beckham is, of course, insanely successful for a guy who has played all of 12 NFL games. He had a record-setting rookie season. He made "The Catch." He is on the cover of Madden 16. He met LeBron James and David Beckham. He does things with flash and style, sometimes to excess. There is a thing called jealousy, and it can rear its head on a football field.
"I can rub a lot of people the wrong way if they don't know me. I'm sure a lot of it is caused by me dancing and having fun. I know I wouldn't want somebody breaking up a pass and dancing in my face," Beckham said.
We began to see teams get aggressive, sometimes overly aggressive, with Beckham at the end of last season. There was the Week 16 fracas against the St. Louis Rams that lead to two Giants being ejected. It also led to head coach Tom Coughlin saying the young star "will tone it down."
There were also a couple of incidents Week 17 against the Philadelphia Eagles, including one that led an angry Beckham to take his helmet off and scream at an official.
Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars there were a couple of plays on which defensive backs appeared to zero in on Beckham rather than the ball, and an incident where Beckham appeared to give a little shove to Jaguars defensive back Sergio Brown, resulting in an official stepping between the two players.
"I didn't see that and there was no flag thrown, so no harm, no foul," Beckham said.
The showmanship and resulting extra attention, as well as incidents like those with Brown, are things the Giants have been talking about with Beckham since last season. No one wants him to suppress his enthusiasm and perhaps lessen his own effectiveness. No one, however, wants him to take extra, unnecessary hits and perhaps get injured.
"We talk about those things and that remains pretty much between he and I. He is not going to be that way, I don't believe so," Coughlin said. "You've got to stay away from those personal battles -- that is a general statement for anybody in football, whether you are a lineman; a lot of times you want to attach those thoughts to linemen who get involved personal battles rather than see the whole picture and play for the purpose for the rest of the team. Odell he is going to improve on that."
Beckham understands that at times he is "just going to have to get hit" in order to make plays.
"If they have their chance to take a shot, then I think they will. It's just what you do and it's a part of the game, so I can't really get mad," Beckham said. "I can't really get mad about anything like that. You just learn to play with it and just know that it's going to be the case."
The Giants just hope that Beckham learns not to bring too much added attention to himself with those "self-inflicted" moments. And that he manages to play through whatever does come his way.