Is there an Odell Beckham Jr. curse hexing the Giants’ wide receivers?
It certainly is starting to feel that way as yet another member of the group which remains with the team in the wake of the star’s trade to Cleveland is facing an obstacle to get on the field for the start of the 2019 season.
Veteran Golden Tate, signed by the Giants this offseason to help bolster the receiving group, is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs. ESPN first reported the situation on Saturday morning and Tate issued a statement shortly after the news broke saying he would appeal the punishment.
His appeal is expected to be heard in early August with a decision prior to the start of the regular season. If the suspension is upheld — and they almost always are — Tate will not be available for the first four games of what the Giants themselves have billed as a crucial start to their season.
In his statement, Tate said took a prescribed medication as part of a fertility planning program with his wife during the offseason. “Just days later I discovered it contained an ingredient that is on the league’s banned substance list. I immediately discontinued use, I reported the situation to the Independent Administrator of the NFL Policy on Performance Enhancing Substances, and I spoke with my coaches and general manager. I did all of this well before a failed test was even confirmed.”
Tate went on to say that he and the Giants are “confident in the facts and eagerly await my appeal to put this behind us.”
No matter the outcome of the appeal, Tate will be allowed to continue to practice with the Giants throughout the preseason. Pat Shurmur said it will be “business as usual” for the veteran receiver in terms of his reps and status in the workouts.
For the Giants receivers, though, there has been nothing usual so far in training camp. Sterling Shepard fractured the tip of his left thumb early in the first practice and Corey Coleman tore his ACL in that same Thursday workout. While Shepard is expected back for the start of the regular season, Coleman is done for the year. Rookie Darius Slayton injured his hamstring in his first practice when the rookies reported earlier in the week, and he has yet to be back on the field. On Friday, Brittan Golden left the field with a groin injury.
The Giants are expected to finalize a roster move to add wide receiver depth.
The receivers have tried to be upbeat about the situations that keep befalling their own.
“This is something we can take,” veteran backup Russell Shepard, one of the few unscathed players at the position, said on Saturday of the numerous and various gut-punches to the room. “We can make this a Cinderella story.”
Given the Giants’ luck with wide receivers recently, though, any glass slippers might shatter and knock someone else out for a while.