Victor Cruz said Odell Beckham Jr. needs to “understand what he means to this team and how his energy affects everyone,” and Cruz vowed to act as “a friend and a brother” to the hot-headed receiver.
Cruz, in his weekly radio spot on WFAN on Tuesday, is the latest to address the outburst Beckham had on the sideline late in Sunday’s loss to Washington. On Monday Ben McAdoo said Beckham has to be “less of a distraction” in the bench area.
“We love the guy to death,” Cruz said. “We want to see him do well. He’s a positive influence in the locker room. He’s friends with everyone. There’s not one guy who doesn’t want to see him win. We just have to remind him of that and make sure that is the above-all focus.”
Guard Justin Pugh said he did not think Beckham’s tirade was a distraction, but realized it could become one if it led to another suspension.
“We just have to make sure that those emotions are driven to going out there on the field and performing,” Pugh said on a conference call. “He’s one of the best receivers in the league. Last year when we played Minnesota, we didn’t have him, and that definitely hurt. He knows that and he knows we need him out there.”
Cruz said he will be in Beckham’s ear as a veteran presence and someone who went through similar growing pains early in his NFL career.
“Telling him things that kept me sane and kept me in check when I had these different emotions about things throughout the course of the game,” Cruz said. “And just kind of coach him up and tell him about how I handled it and the things that I did. We’re going to need him to win games, and we need him to be available and ready to go at any given moment.”
The Giants placed RB Shane Vereen on injured reserve and re-signed CB Michael Hunter . . . RB Orleans Darkwa may start against the Vikings if Rashad Jennings is not cleared to play. While the prospect of being without their top two running backs would scare most teams, the Giants seem excited by the opportunity for Darkwa. “That’s something that you dream about, to be the starting running back,” Pugh said. “He’s going to have his chance on Monday Night Football.” . . . DT Damon Harrison, all 350-plus pounds of him, joked that he could help at running back. “Hopefully, coach McAdoo needs that solid inch or that one yard,” Harrison said. “I think that if I put my head down I would be able to get it.”