CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Odell Beckham Jr. lit a fuse in the Giants’ locker room with an on-camera interview given to ESPN this past week. And he’s not sorry he did it.
“I don’t regret anything that I said,” Beckham said after Sunday’s 33-31 loss to the Panthers. “I spoke to the team just to kind of relay the message that sometimes stuff comes off the wrong way. Words can be portrayed in any kind of light.”
These did seem particularly incendiary.
In the wide-ranging interview that aired in full Sunday morning, Beckham told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he doesn’t feel he is being used to his full potential, thinks opposing defenses are out-scheming the Giants, declined to say whether Eli Manning is the root of the team’s offensive struggles and would not say if he is happy being with the Giants. He also said the Giants needed to play with more energy and heart.
All of this less than two months after the receiver signed a five-year extension with $65 million guaranteed and a potential for $95 million.
Both Beckham and Pat Shurmur denied reports that the coach insisted that Beckham apologize to the team.
“I addressed it with Odell, I addressed it with our team,” Shurmur said. “I publicly declared that I didn’t agree with his comments [when some surfaced Friday] . . . I’m not going to give the public a pound of flesh on this, all right? That would make me small, not strong. And these are the kind of things, in my opinion, when we have the locker room that we have, that will help galvanize them because the locker room took care of it. That’s all I’m saying on it. Finito. Done. Let’s talk football, not drama.”
Beckham did say he and Manning had a private discussion about the remarks.
“Odell and I have a great relationship,” Manning said after the game.
Beckham said the thoughts he expressed to ESPN began swirling in him after the loss to the Cowboys in Week 2.
“It had been on my heart,” he said. “And I think all the stuff that was built up inside, it came out in the wrong way. I texted [Shurmur] and I asked if I could have a minute just to talk to the team because I feel like if we’re not all on the same page, if it’s not authentic and real and we can all understand each other, then there’s always going to be miscommunication. To be able to do that was big for me. I was nervous to get up there. These are your brothers you see every day, but once you’re up there in front of all of them, it’s a little nerve-wracking. I’m just excited about the way we pulled together.”
Beckham’s teammates seemed to accept his explanation and appreciate his decision to address them.
“He talked about where he was coming from, and he was coming from the heart,” safety and defensive captain Landon Collins said. “We know he’s a great teammate, great guy, a leader on this offense and this team. We all look up to him, so we know where he’s coming from.”
After the game, Beckham said he was pleased by the way the Giants responded to his call-outs. They played one of their fiercest games of the season, had their most offensive production in almost three full years and nearly came back to beat the Panthers.
“If it took that to get us going, I can take it,” he said. “I’m trying to be a leader. I’m in a position I’ve never been in. I’m trying to grow, I’m learning on the fly, but I’m proud of where we went today. If it took that for us to come together as a team like we did today, I can take that every single time.”