EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Aside from a couple of one-on-one interviews, New York Giants mega-star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had not been in front of the media since April. There was, of course, the well-publicized minicamp situation where Beckham did not appear for a scheduled session with reporters.
Friday, just a couple of hours before the team's first practice of their 2015 training camp, Beckham was finally ready to speak to a swarm of assembled media. Only he couldn't. There was a problem. When Beckham poked his head out to appear for his scheduled session, the podium was occupied. By quarterback Eli Manning. Nobody rushes Manning, not even Beckham. So, the 22-year-old waited until Manning was done and then stepped to the podium.
Arms folded, red Giants sweatshirt hood pulled up over his head Beckham wasn't exactly relaxed. But he was patient, he laughed a few times and he answered every question he was asked during his roughly eight-minute long scrum with reporters. He even offered up an "I love you guys," when asked kiddingly if he enjoyed talking to the media.
Beckham didn't seem to mind waiting for Manning. He called the quarterback "A guy who's been through the ups and downs. Super Bowl MVP twice. He just knows what it takes, so to be able to watch a guy like that every single day, him be a leader and a guy who I've known for a little bit of time now it's just great.
"We just click and we understand each other and I understand from watching him what it takes."
Beckham jokingly said Manning is "a ghost" who he only sees around the facility.
"A guy like that you just watch. You watch what he does in the meetings, you watch how he takes his notes and brings them to the field," Beckham said.
"Whether he or anybody else knows it or not I'm always watching, I'm always trying to learn something new from these older guys."
Beckham, of course, was asked about the condition of the hamstring that caused him to miss OTAs and minicamp. He declined to shed much light on exactly how healthy he is.
"I'm just ready to get out and practice," Beckham said. "It's been a long time since we've been able to hit the field and I'm excited.
"It's always been frustrating having to sit out and sit there and watch people practice. ... I would definitely rather be out there and barely be able to walk off the field than watching."
Having dealt with the hamstring two consecutive years, Beckham said he hasn't really changed his training methods and said he's just been doing "rehab, rehab, rehab."
"I don't know the last time anybody's ever felt 100 percent playing football since you were 12 years old. I don't remember the last time I was ever 100 percent," he said.
How much will he do? 'We'll see," said Beckham, acknowledging that the training staff will make that call.
How does he deal with the increased expectations after his historic rookie season?
"Just go out and do the same things that you did last year. You pray and hope for the same results. That's where you leave it at."