Ever since the game between the 2015 game between the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers, fans and the media alike have held their breath when Odell Beckham Jr. has come up against a talkative cornerback.
This week he faces yet such cornerback in Jacksonville Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey. When he spoke to the media in the locker room on Wednesday, he presented the more calm and mature Odell
“I think I learned my lesson,” Beckham said about taking the trash-talking bait. “This is, if not the best, then one of the best corners in the league, there is no way around it.”
“Yeah, definitely,” Beckham said, when asked if he is excited to play against Ramsey. This will be Beckham’s first time on the football field since breaking his ankle in the game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 8 of last year.
“Honestly, I’m more so just looking forward to playing football again,” he added. “But yes, it is an exciting matchup. It’s a good test for yourself in the first game against the best defense in the league, I would say.”
As is well remembered, Josh Norman’s trash talk got under Beckham’s skin, and the officials and both teams’ coaches failed to establish any kind of control until the friction exploded into an all-out brawl. Since then, Beckham’s passions have flared off the field, but he has remained relatively cool on it — But that hasn’t erased the images from the Carolina game.
Recalling the week leading up to that game, Beckham spoke about how he allowed himself to get pulled into the mind game, saying he “took the cheese.” This time, he says, is different. Beckham said, “I’m seeing things different now, just knowing that it is going to be a matchup but it’s not going to be something where history repeats itself.”
Ramsey famously insulted most of the league’s quarterbacks this summer, including Eli Manning, crediting Beckham for any perceived talent on Manning’s part. Odell instead chose to complement the Jaguars’ defense as a whole, saying that it will be exciting to play them, and that in his eyes they have “the best defense in the league.”
Time will tell how the matchup plays out, but Beckham is already setting a different tone.
Here are more takeaways from Beckham’s Wednesday media availability.
On playing his first game since last season’s injury
“I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m at home, I’ll be in the middle of conversation, my mind doesn’t get off this game. It’s been a long time. There was a lot of hard work and preparation just to be able to get back to running and playing again. So, I’m excited. I’m real excited about this team and the opportunity we have in front of us.”
On if he is curious how it will feel to play again
“Yes. Obviously, I can’t wait to be back out there but I haven’t been hit. I mean, I was getting tackled in the offseason but not by these guys. Get you that first one, get that hit, it’s kind of like you shake it off and then you keep going from there. You need that first one but it’s not something that I’m so much afraid of. This is football. It’s always going to be football, regardless if you haven’t taken a hit in years or whatever it is. It doesn’t feel good to get hit. It is what it is.”
On whether he would like to return punts
“Absolutely, I just love having the ball in my hands and just being able to make plays. You get back there and you trust those guys to make blocks for you and you get to do what you do, whether it’s punt return, kick return, any of that. However I can help this team, I’m all the way in.”