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Odell Beckham Jr.: 'I just have to play bigger'

Michael Cox #29 and Odell Beckham Jr. #13

Michael Cox #29 and Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Giants dance as they warm up before the start of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 12, 2014 in Philadelphia. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Rich Schultz

PHILADELPHIA - The loss of Victor Cruz for the season will affect everyone on the Giants' offense, but perhaps no one more than Odell Beckham Jr.

The rookie receiver, who was the Giants' first-round draft pick in May, has played in only two NFL games and has only six receptions but presumably will be asked to assume a large role in the passing attack.

He said after Sunday night's 27-0 loss to the Eagles that he is ready for the challenge -- and that he told Cruz so as the veteran was being carted off Lincoln Financial Field with a torn right patellar tendon.

"I was an early pick for them, so I know they already expect big things from me, but with Vic going down, I just have to play bigger," Beckham said. "I told him as he got carted off, I told him, 'I got you.'

"Since Day One, he's looked out for me, mentored me and tried to keep me on the right path of things to do and not to do. So any time you see something like that, you have to be a family.

"It's tough. It's the nature of this game, but it's even tougher when that's a guy I watched before I got here, a guy I modeled my game after. To see him go down, it touches your heart. That's like a brother to me. All you can do is pray for him."

Beckham said he knew something was wrong when he ran to the corner of the end zone and saw how much pain Cruz was in after injuring his knee with 9:35 left in the third quarter. He said the scene affected him the rest of the night.

"As hard as it was, you have to move on and go to the next play, but it's still in the back of your mind throughout the entire game," he said.

Beckham knows that come next weekend, Cruz's injury no longer can be on the remaining players' minds when they are on the field.

"That's how it is," he said. "As unfortunate as it is, that's the nature of the game. Preston Parker or whoever it may be is going to have to step up and fill his role and just do it to the best of your ability. All the receivers have to step up and start making more plays.

"It's tough when it's a guy who wears that 'C' on his chest. He's a captain, he's a leader, he's your big bro. Just to see him go down, you just feel for him no matter what team you're on, rivalry or not, you feel for a guy like that.

"Not much needs to be said, but it's Victor Cruz, period. He's one of the top guys in the league. It's just part of the game of football."

Rueben Randle is another receiver whose workload figures to increase in Cruz's absence.

"I have to step my game up, step into a bigger role and have to be the next man up," he said. "It's football. It's going to happen and you have to be able to overcome it. Tonight, we just didn't.

"Me, whoever else in the receiving corps that it may be, are going to have to step up and make some plays. Now I have to step up and be a bigger leader for the team."


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