When you think of a leader in the Giants' locker room, you think of Michael Strahan. He’s the standard against whom all Giants leaders have been measured against for the past 10 years. So as the Giants try to find leadership from their current crop of players – young and old, with varying styles and methods – Strahan is not far away watching it all play out.
“I think they’re still searching,” Strahan said on Wednesday. “There are guys who can be leaders and are leaders. And there are guys in the locker room we would never think of as leaders who aren’t talked about in that way because they don’t do it in front of the media.
“Odell,” Strahan added, “is definitely a leader.”
Not everyone has thought that in recent days. But the Hall of Famer and NFL analyst for Fox Sports (among his many titles that also includes hosting “Fox NFL Thursday,” which serves as the pregame show for the broadcast of Thursday night games) said that Beckham can be – and probably should be – among those at the forefront of whatever direction the Giants head this season.
That doesn’t mean he’s not making mistakes. The important thing, Strahan said, is that he clean them up. As he did.
“I feel like I’ve been in Odell’s situation when I’ve said something and you probably have the best intentions and the way that you said it at the end of the day it doesn’t come across in the way that you wish people would take it,” Strahan said on a conference call on Wednesday. “Odell is a great player, one of those guys who has this drive to be successful and win. When he says these things, I don’t think Odell is trying to come down on anybody else or be tough on anybody else. I think if anything he’s tougher on himself. But when you do those things and they come out, you do have to realize that if it’s not taken the way it’s intended then you have to answer to it and be a man about it because it can affect your teammates. When you’re in a team sport that the last thing you want to do is take away from your teammates and make it seem like they’re part of a problem.”
The other part of that process is the team’s reaction.
“The team is handling it as well as they can handle it,” Strahan said. “What can you say? He said it, it’s out there. There’s nothing you can take back, nothing he can take back.”
Strahan also noted that Beckham is still just 25 years old.
“We look at Odell and we forget that he’s a young kid,” he said.
As for leadership in general, Strahan said it has to start on the field and blossom from there.
“The only way you can become a leader, in my opinion, is when you have success,” he said. “You can’t tell guys this and that if you’re not having success on the field. But even when you tell guys and you’re having success, it’s the way in which you say it. It’s the example you set every day in practice, it’s the excellence that you live in the way you go about your business that people follow.
“It’s not necessarily your words,” he said, “it’s you as a person, as a whole.”