Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. stood overlooking the Giants' practice field Thursday, but his thoughts were more on futbol than football.
The Giants' first-round pick said he started playing soccer when he was 3 and still keeps up with the game. And, yes, he plans to watch as much World Cup action as possible.
"It was my first love," the 5-11, 198-pounder out of LSU said. "My coach actually tried to get me on the national team when I was like 13, 14, but to do the soccer thing, you really have to go overseas. It was a decision at a young age that I didn't really want to leave my family. It was one of those things where I had to let it go, even though I still think about it to this day."
Beckham, who expects to be back in action next week after sitting out the day's OTA workouts because of a hamstring injury, played midfield, center-midfield and forward in his soccer days. Just like in football, he was always speedy on the pitch and said that a soccer background helped his footwork and stamina for football.
But could he bend the ball like another soccer-playing Beckham?
"I definitely can," Beckham said without hesitation. "There's a video on Instagram [@iam_objxiii] actually of me just messing around. I haven't done it in a while, but any chance I get to put a soccer ball by my feet, I'll definitely mess around with it."
Beckham said his favorite soccer players include Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi, adding he would like to see the game grow in the United States.
"I don't know if it'd be bigger than baseball in America," he said. "But it's taken over worldwide and it's starting to come to the U.S. a little bit more."
Beckham said he still thinks about what could have been if he chose the soccer route, but finds peace in believing that football is "God's plan."
After all, it's still football.