Yes, Odell is in the building.
No, Pat Shurmur is not turning the attendance of Odell Beckham Jr. at Monday’s opening day of the Giants’ offseason workout program as some sort of springboard to a long-term commitment or contract for the star receiver or a seminal moment in the history of the player, the franchise or the world.
“I’m not overthinking this,” Shurmur said Monday, about 45 minutes before he was to address his new team in a 9:15 a.m. meeting. “This is the first day of work, this is the first opportunity to be here together.
“I think it’s important that Odell is here and I’m looking forward to him getting one day better by being here. I’m looking forward to him inspiring some of his teammates to get better, because he’s here and he’s a terrific player. I think we can all learn from one another. Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to the players challenging me to grow.’’
Just as Beckham’s presence can be overplayed, it also can be underplayed. As always with all things Odell, balance and perspective is crucial, and often missing. Beckham last year did not take part in the Giants’ offseason program, opting to do his work in Los Angeles. This time around, there is a new coach and coaching staff, a new general manager and a new injury, as Beckham is coming off October surgery to repair a fractured left ankle.
Shurmur said he “communicated’’ with Beckham after the NFL owners’ meetings two weeks ago in Orlando, when a swirl of fiction and non-fiction circulated about Beckham, the video of him in a Paris hotel with a French model (and substances that looked like drugs), the Giants’ irritation with the video as the latest Beckham distraction and the Giants fielding trade offers for him.
“Certainly that communication is between me and him,’’ Shurmur said.
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Asked if he specifically questioned Beckham if there were drugs in the hotel room, Shurmur said, “That’s private between Odell and myself, but we talked about the video.’’
As for the trade talk affecting Beckham, Shurmur said: “I’m not worried about it. I really believe that Odell is a professional, he wants to be great and he understands the importance of the offseason. He’s a competitive guy. Again, we had already started communication before all that information kind of got out there and was talked about a great deal. He’s a professional, and I’m glad he’s here today.’’
The Odell Mania was triggered two weeks ago, when co-owner John Mara, responding to the seven-second video, stated he was tired of having to answer questions about Beckham’s behavior, adding no player, not even Beckham, was “untouchable.’’ That opened the door for wild trade speculation and did prompt the Rams and a few other teams to inquire about the price tag. Mara later made it clear Beckham was not on the trading block.
“That’s the business,’’ Shurmur said. “I’m the coach. I’m just gonna worry about trying to get each and every player, each and every coach as good as they can be, and I’ll focus on that part of it.”
Shurmur said Monday morning he had not yet spoken with Beckham that day and thus was unsure how long Beckham would remain in New Jersey and attend the nine-week offseason program.