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Odell Beckham Jr. optimistic after returning to practice

Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants speaks to

Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants speaks to the media prior to practice during training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center, July 22, 2013 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Mike Stobe

Odell Beckham Jr. ran down the field, cut off his route, turned around and caught a pass from Eli Manning.

It was only a drill early in practice, no defenders were even on the field, and other quarterbacks were throwing to other receivers on the same snap. But for the first time since he suffered a setback to his hamstring injury more than a month ago, Beckham was participating in a practice, doing what he was brought here to do as a first-round pick.

"It was definitely a good feeling," he said. "I feel like we're starting to hit that home stretch. I'm just staying mentally strong and praying that nothing bad happens again."

Beckham won't play Thursday in Washington, but he said his goal is to be ready for the Week 5 game against the Falcons on Oct. 5.

"I've been anxious since the Giants picked me," he said of getting onto the field for his NFL debut. "I had a setback, a couple of setbacks. It's been unfortunate but it's not something that you can just hang your head on and not move past. There will be brighter days in the future."

Beckham hasn't had a full practice in his NFL career. He missed most of the team workouts in the spring with a hamstring injury. He aggravated it on the first day of training camp. Then on Aug. 18, his third day back in a limited capacity, he aggravated it again. He hadn't practiced since then. Until Tuesday.

"Odell looked good," Manning said. "He's definitely got some quickness to him and some burst. It was good to see him running. We'll just keep sprinkling him in and get him up to speed on everything, get him out there and see how much he knows of the offense. We'll see when he can get back and help us play a game."

When will that be?

"I think it's in the future," Tom Coughlin said, noting that Beckham's participation in practice Tuesday was "not the most extensive of individual [drills]. His load is going to increase."

And if the hamstring can hold up and the grasp on the offense can show itself, pretty soon that Manning-to-Beckham connection won't be limited to just the early drills in practices. The patience the Giants have shown with the rookie may even pay off if Beckham is able to play, say, the last 10 games of the season without a setback.

"I definitely feel a lot better than I have been," Beckham said. "Getting better every day. I feel as good as I've ever felt right now."

New York Sports