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Giants exercise patience as Odell Beckham Jr. watches workouts with hamstring woes

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #13 catches

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #13 catches a pass during drills at training camp on Aug. 12, 2014.. Credit: Newsday / Joe Epstein

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Odell Beckham Jr. has only taken a few snaps with the Giants' offense, but that hasn't stopped the rookie receiver from dreaming big.

"[The offense] has potential to be, if not the best, one of the best in the league," Beckham said at the team's training facility on Tuesday. "You have a receiving corps like we do and a great quarterback, along with the backfield and the tight ends, and much improvement from the offensive line. I don't see anything but being one of the best in the league this year."

Beckham can't help but put the offense on a pedestal. Like a dog whose leash pulls just before reaching a bone, the 21-year-old, who returned to action on Monday after a strained hamstring sidelined him on the first day of training camp, is on the outside looking in.

"You kind of feel like you've been caged and you're just waiting to get out," Beckham said. "I was definitely excited [Monday]. I've been out for a while; for some people, it feels like forever.

"It's just so hard to finally get to where you want to be and then you get something like this to set you back. It's hard for me to focus all the time in practice because I want to be out there running routes instead of sitting here with [offensive assistant Ryan Roeder] going over all the plays. It's just one of those things where you've got to take your time and ease into it slowly."

The first-rounder out of LSU participated in individual drills with the team on Monday. He played against defense for the first time during 7-on-7 drills on Tuesday and had the ball picked off twice during the session.

Beckham said he is gradually building up to full strength. He hopes to make his preseason debut against the Jets on Aug. 22 at MetLife Stadium.

"Definitely, I think that that's in the plan," said Beckham. "We're just waiting to see what [doctors] say."

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he isn't discouraged about Beckham's near future. He wants to see him practicing so he can know where to use him.

"He's fast, he's a gifted receiver," Coughlin said. "I think he can be a punt returner, he can be a kick returner. He's a smart kid. He's competitive.

"Beckham will be a big part of [the punt return unit] once he gets back. We have a lot of people who are trying it. I think once we get Beckham back out there, it'll crystallize for us."

Said Beckham: "I'm just looking forward to being a piece of the puzzle."

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