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Odell Beckham tongue-tied on rivalry with Josh Norman

Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants

Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants mixes it up after a play in the first half against Josh Norman #24 of the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Odell Beckham Jr. wants no part of Josh Norman.

At least when it comes to offseason rhetoric between the rivals, who now are scheduled to face each other twice a season for the foreseeable future. In his first comments since Norman signed with Washington last week, Beckham offered little to no reaction and slipped around questions regarding the topic.

“I play for the Giants,” he said Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to this year and everything we have set ahead of us.”

Asked if he had the Sept. 25 game against Washington circled on his calendar, Beckham replied: “Sept. 11 I think is our first game against the Cowboys.”

Beckham and Norman, then a cornerback for the Panthers, were involved in an ugly episode last December when the two engaged in dangerous on-field tactics that resulted in Beckham’s one-game suspension. It seemed as if that rivalry might dissipate with the two playing in separate divisions and not even on each other’s schedule for 2016. That changed when Carolina rescinded its franchise tag on Norman last week and he quickly signed with Washington.

“It’s gonna be fun,” Norman said Monday when asked about facing Beckham again. “I’m gonna play. I’m gonna give everything I got just as well as he is . . . Whatever happens that day, it will happen. I don’t hold the future.”

While Beckham wouldn’t take any bait regarding Norman, Victor Cruz said he believes that nothing as unpleasant as last season will happen between the two in their next meeting.

“I think the thing that they learned, the both of them, is that that part of the game isn’t necessary,” Cruz said. “I think they understand that and they both have learned from it. I know from talking to Odell that he’s learned from it, so I think they’re ready to put those things past them.”

Cruz added that although Norman’s signing created ripples in the media and among fans, most Giants didn’t pay it much mind. “No one brought it up to my attention and it hasn’t been a big rumble in the locker room,” Cruz said. “We just come in and go about our business like any other day.”

Whether Sept. 25 and Jan. 1 — the Giants’ games against Washington season — become like any other days are when the truth of this matter will be unveiled.

New York Sports