Odell Beckham Jr. on Wednesday would not directly criticize Briean Boddy-Calhoun of the Cleveland Browns for the low hit in a Week 2 preseason game that has his status for this Sunday’s regular-season opener in doubt.
That doesn’t mean Beckham was thrilled about Boddy-Calhoun’s decision to dive at his legs, causing what the Giants have only termed an ankle injury. Just that Beckham understands the conundrum faced by defensive backs in the modern NFL, where so much is driven by fear of concussions.
“I guess it’s part of the game. In my opinion they made rules about hitting high and it being a problem. I know I probably shouldn’t say this, but I will. I’d rather the safety hit me up high every single time than go low, but it’s part of the game. You risk getting fined, you risk a suspension. There’s all kinds of things that a safety’s got going through their head in the moment. I can’t really fault what happened. It just happened, it is what it is, it’s life. Take it on the chin, you keep moving.”
That, simply, is the issue faced by defenders and ball carriers in today’s NFL. High hits lead to fines and possible suspensions. Low hits don’t jeopardize a defender’s paycheck, but do endanger offensive players. Here is what I wrote on the topic a couple of weeks ago:
If he goes high, there is a chance the NFL takes money out of his wallet. If he goes low, Beckham’s legs might be jeopardized, but there is zero chance Boddy-Calhoun’s wallet takes a hit.
With all of the focus on concussions and the way the game is officiated now, this is the deal with the devil that the NFL has made. They will get, and have been, sued over brain trauma. If a guy wrecks his knee that is unfortunate, but it won’t result in the league facing a lawsuit.
That is what Beckham called his injury.
“I feel better than I did yesterday and better than I did the day before. It’s progress,” he said. “Today was a good day.”
He said he has done some running and cutting.
“It sucks. It’s a day-to-day thing. You try to get better each and every day,” Beckham said. “I’ve been rehabbing an endless amount of hours, treatment, etc. Just trying to get it right.”
Will he play Sunday night?
“I wouldn’t count it out. My heart’s just not gonna make this easy,” Beckham said.
“It’s been two weeks. I’m itching, I’m itching.”
Beckham wasn’t wearing any sort of protection on the ankle Wednesday.
“If I have to wear a brace or tape it, then I’m probably not going to play. Pretty natural. I haven’t taped since high school. I don’t remember. I just stopped taping ankles. I just kind of go with the natural feel of it,” Beckham said. “So, if it feels right, there’s no way I’m not going to play. If it feels right and they clear it, we’re working it.”
What is the injury, exactly?
The Giants have never given more information on Beckham’s injury other than that it’s an ankle. Beckham didn’t exactly clear that up on Wednesday.
“Some kind of ankle sprain. Somewhere in that area around the ankle. Somewhere,” he said. “Upper, lower, middle, left, right. Southeast.”
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said whether or not Beckham plays Sunday night will be a medical decision.
“If he’s cleared medically to play in the game we’ll play him,” McAdoo said. “If not we won’t.
“If it’s safe for the player to play and he’s not going to do further harm to himself physically then we would think about playing him, but I’d never put a player out there who would do further damage to himself physically.”