Odell Beckham Jr. has found time this offseason to attend the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game, follow Drake around, attend the Coachella Music Festival, get a Michael Jackson tattoo and sign the richest shoe deal in NFL history. Now, you can add catching some passes from Johnny Manziel to the list.
Beckham missed Eli Manning’s passing camp at Duke, reportedly because of oral surgery. He has reportedly only been an occasional participant during the team’s voluntary workouts thus far this offseason, and did not attend OTAs Monday or Tuesday. He is expected to be in attendance Thursday when media has access to practice for the first time.
So, here we are again talking about whether or not any of this matters. Beckham had promised to work harder than ever this offseason and he is most likely in terrific physical condition. He certainly looks like it in the Instagram image above.
Whether you care about any of this has everything to do with whether or not you care about the optics. Shoot, we would probably all skip a couple of voluntary workouts to negotiate the final touches of a shoe deal that could put $48 million in our pockets over an eight-year period.
Beckham’s offseason, though, brings into question whether or not he truly took to heart GM Jerry Reese’s message at the end of last season that it was time for Beckham to grow up. You’ve read it here before, but Reese’s words are pertinent, so here they are again:
"I see a guy who needs to think about some of the things that he does. Everybody knows he's a gifted player, but there's some things that he's done that he needs to look at himself in the mirror and be honest with himself about some of the things that he's done. I think he'll do that. We'll help him with that, but he has to help himself and we believe he'll do that. He's a smart guy, but sometimes he doesn't do smart things." ...
"We all had to grow up at different times in our lives. I think it's time for him to do that," Reese said. "He's been here for three years now. He's a little bit of a lightning rod because of what he does on the football field, but the things he does off the football field, he's got to be responsible for those things. We'll talk through it. I know he's a smart guy. I believe he understands that he has a responsibility being one of the faces of this franchise. I think he'll accept that responsibility."
Giants co-owner John Mara also recently defended Beckham:
"He really is a good young man, trying to mature, trying to deal with all the fame and celebrity that has come his way,” Mara told Eisen. "He's getting pulled in a lot of different directions, but I think he's going to mature and he's going to continue to be one of the great players in this league ... I'm just not worried about him. I think he's got his head on the right way.
"I'm glad he's on my team."
Perhaps, though, catching passes from Manziel — who partied his way out of the NFL — instead of Manning isn’t the best way to show that the owner’s faith is justified or that you heard what the general manager said.
Maybe none of this means anything. Beckham is young, he’s rich and soon to be richer, he’s enjoying his life, he’s a great player.
If he has a great season those who think his offseason activities are no big deal will snicker at those who wish he would spend more time with team and less time drawing attention to himself. If he has a sub-par year or continues to draw attention to himself for off-the-field or sideline antics, those who do care about this stuff will point to his offseason and say they saw it coming.
It’s all about the optics — and whether or not they mean anything to you.