The conventional line of thinking about Odell Beckham Jr. goes something like this: Now that the Giants essentially are in full rebuild mode with this week’s trades of defensive starters Eli Apple and Damon “Snacks” Harrison, the mercurial wide receiver surely will want out in the not-too-distant future. Even though he signed a five-year, $95-million contract extension this summer, there’s no possible way he’ll want to go through a potentially drawn-out roster reconstruction, right?
Beckham’s answer might surprise you.
“I’m just not a quitter,” he told me Thursday in a corner of the Giants’ locker room. “I’ve always been a loyal person, and I’ve always wanted to do things for this organization, for this city, to have a parade in New York City. Those are my dreams. Those are my goals.”
As far as Beckham is concerned, the only place he wants to play — now and into the future — is with the Giants.
“There is no way out,” he said. “This is where I’m at. This is where I will be. I just want to be a part of something great.”
“Something great” is hardly what you’d call a 1-6 team whose season is virtually over not even halfway through it. The Giants are a long way from contending again, and if Eli Manning is playing his final games with them, then it’s anyone’s guess who will replace him and whether Beckham can be as productive as he’d like.
But Beckham insists he is committed for the long haul. Despite the team’s woeful performance, he’s even unwilling to surrender this season.
“The division is still cracked,” Beckham said, referring to an NFC East in which the surprising 4-2 Redskins are ahead of the 3-4 Eagles and Cowboys.
A win Sunday against Washington at MetLife Stadium?
“That can do a lot,” he said. “All I can think about is the immediate and trying to win nine games in a row. That’s it. If everyone else loses and say we finish 8-8, that’s all you can do. [Lousy] division right now. We’ve just got to be less [lousy] than everybody else.”
Let’s be realistic here. The Giants aren’t going to win the division title, and even getting to .500 will require seven wins in their final nine games. Not happening.
The first-half flop is a big reason why first-year general manager Dave Gettleman traded Apple and Harrison, and there could be more to go before Tuesday’s trade deadline.
It’s a jarring message for the players left in the locker room, although Beckham refuses to second-guess any moves. Nor does he regret agreeing to his extension.
“This is a multibillion-dollar industry, and at the end of the day it is a business, so it’s really out of my control,” he said of the trades. “Those guys were family. Snacks was like a brother to me. He came and visited me in the hospital [after ankle surgery last year]. But it is a business. It’s tough, that’s the toughest part about this.
“It’s really irrelevant to think about that now because I’m here and I will be here.”
He vows to be a part of the solution — the long-term solution.
“All I care about is winning, about being a part of something great,” he said. “I came from a school [LSU] where we balled, and we practiced hard and we balled harder and we’d run out there and lay it on the line for our brothers every single time.
“That’s all I want to do, just lay it on the line, every single time. I want everybody to shine. I want everybody on Monday night games to have celebrations.
“That’s why I say it’s about the culture. It’s about how you can get there, how you can make that culture to what you want it to be.”
Beckham desperately wants this to become a championship culture, even if the Giants are far from contending for a spot in Super Bowl LIII at the Mercedes-Benz Dome on Feb. 3.
As we finished our conversation, I went back to his notion about participating in a Super Bowl celebration. “Parade, huh?”
“And it’s in Atlanta,” Beckham replied. “That’d be nice.”