That’s the message that Giants general manager Jerry Reese has for Odell Beckham Jr. as the talented and tumultuous wide receiver heads into the offseason. Reese, who addressed the media on Monday, said he spoke with Beckham earlier in the day and expressed similar thoughts on how the 24-year-old comports himself on and off the field.
“I see a guy who needs to think about some of the things that he does,” Reese said. “Everybody knows he’s a gifted player. But there are some things that he’s done and he needs to look himself in the mirror and be honest with himself about. I think he’ll do that. We’ll help him with that, but he has to help himself.”
Beckham had a, well, eventful week as he stepped into the playoff spotlight for the first time in his career. It began with a trip to Miami to hang out in dance clubs and on a party yacht and culminated with him reportedly punching a hole in the wall outside the visitors’ locker room at Lambeau Field after a 38-13 loss to the Packers.
His season also included slamming his helmet into a kicking net in frustration (and getting hit in the face by the net), banging his head into a metal door outside the locker room in Philadelphia and reportedly losing an expensive piece of jewelry at a strip club in New York.
“He’s a smart guy, but sometimes he doesn’t do smart things,” Reese said. “We all had to grow up at different times in our lives. I think it’s time for him to do it now. He’s been here three years now.”
One of the Giants’ priorities in preparing for the 2017 season will be figuring out how to best channel Beckham’s emotions and personality into football production. “He has a responsibility as a face of this franchise,” Reese said, “and I think he’ll accept that responsibility.”
Reese and Eli Manning said they didn’t think the much-publicized Miami trip had any effect on the game, in which Beckham dropped four passes he usually catches and was held to four receptions for 28 yards. They also know, however, that it doesn’t really matter what they think.
“You just have to learn the perception of things makes it different,” Manning said of the lesson the young players, particularly Beckham, should take from the experience. “If you do things, you have to back it up. I don’t think it had an impact on the game. I thought we had a great week of practice. Guys were making plays and running around. It was intense, focused and everything good. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have it [Sunday].”
Beckham was not available to the media on Monday as the players cleaned out their lockers. He spoke Sunday and presented, as he often does, a calm and clear-thinking persona. He certainly did not look or sound like the inconsolable person some reported him as being in the locker room, or like someone who was about to punch a wall.
Even the young players realize that Beckham needs to settle down at times.
“He’s very passionate about what he does,” rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who was on the Miami trip with Beckham, said Monday. “He’s just got to control his emotions. But that just comes along with being passionate about this game. That’s how he is. He’s fiery about it.”
Reese said the Giants are investigating the situation regarding the hole that was punched in the wall by someone; several Packers employees relayed second-hand information that it was Beckham who punched the drywall. The Giants did not deny that it was Beckham.
Coach Ben McAdoo said he and the organization take full responsibility for the damage. Reese said that if Beckham is found to have caused it, “we will 1,000 percent hold him responsible for that.”
Manning said he thought Beckham was too amped up.
“He’s passionate and he wants to win,” the quarterback said. “This was important for him. He wanted to go out there and have the best game of his career. Maybe he put too much pressure on himself and emphasis. You have to have a calm mindset and just go out there and play football. Be relaxed and bring out your best. Don’t try to play your best, you just have to trust the training and just go do it.
“I think Odell is going to be fine. He’s learning every year, and this is another learning experience for him.”