Eli Manning does not obsess about much, especially not in the offseason. Of course he was and is aware of the chatter about Odell Beckham Jr. possibly getting traded. Or course, the veteran quarterback processed that speculation without any gnashing of teeth or wringing of his hands.
“I think over the years you just can’t get caught up with what’s being said on TV or in the news or what people assume is happening,’’ Manning said Monday as the Giants gathered for the first day of their offseason workout program. “It doesn’t help, you don’t know where these things get started or where it’s going. It’s important when those things happen is to have great communication with your coaches and with ownership, make sure everybody is on the same page.
“I never got too concerned with it. We all know the talent Odell has and what he brings to the football field. Look forward to playing with him this year and for years to come.’’
Manning has two years remaining on his contract and Beckham is entering the fifth and final year of his deal, set to get paid $8.45 million for the 2017 season. Beckham, seeking a long-term commitment to make him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, was in attendance on Day 1 of the program. How long he stays in town and how much he participates in the later stages of the program remain to be seen.
“He’s got to do what’s best for him in getting ready to play this upcoming season,’’ Manning said. “I’ll talk to him and give him my two cents on it, but he’s got to do what he feels is best for him to get ready and play at a high level.’’
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Last week Manning assembled several teammates — Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall, Evan Engram, Roger Lewis, Rhett Ellison and Wayne Gallman — for the annual throwing and catching session he holds at Duke University. Beckham is coming back off surgery to repair a fractured left ankle and would not have been able to run routes. Thus, he was not at the session, an absence Manning understood.
“I talked to Odell and it was just a matter of what he’s doing in his rehab to get back healthy,’’ Manning said. “It wasn’t gonna make sense for him to make that trip if he can’t do all the routes and do everything. He’s got his, kinda through the Giants, what he’s doing, he has their plan for his rehab. We’re on the same page, talked about it, it just didn’t make sense.’’
Beckham created a firestorm when a seven-second video of him in a Paris hotel with a French model and what looked to be drugs surfaced.
“No, I didn’t talk to him about that,’’ Manning said. “I don’t get caught up in offseason or videos and this and that. I think whatever, that’s just kind of the world today, sometimes things come up, he’s got to deal with that, but I think he’ll handle that well and put his focus on playing football at a high level.”
Manning was pleased that Beckham left Los Angeles and made it to the team facility for the first day.
“It’s important for the guys to be here, especially with a new offense, new defense going in as well, new coaching staff just to get familiar with what’s going on,” Manning said. “Right now you can kinda come in, coaches can take it slow a little bit, you can ask questions and all learn it together, which is good. When guys start missing these meetings and these workouts on the field, you get behind and then you got to re-teach it, you got to slow things down for guys to catch up.”