Odell Beckham Jr.’s ears were likely ringing prior to Sterling Shepard’s phone ringing.
Shepard was on a FaceTime chat with Beckham minutes after he completed answering questions from the media about Beckham’s two-day visit to the Giants. When the talk began to attract attention, Shepard retreated to a quiet spot and made a joke about eavesdroppers.
Beckham dined with Giants head coach Brian Daboll and other club leaders on Thursday, underwent a medical examination off-site on Friday morning, and then returned to the facility at 3:45 p.m. for official discussions. Beckham spoke with Shepard and made arrangements to see Saquon Barkley before leaving town to see the Buffalo Bills, the second stop on a three-leg trip that will ultimately conclude with the Dallas Cowboys.
Shepard stated, “He said the meal went well, and that was the end of the talk.” “As we watched the [Bills-Patriots] game, one of the most prominent things he said was that he wanted to get back to balling.”
Odell Beckham Jr. played his first five NFL seasons for the Giants.
First, team physicians must examine Beckham’s left knee, which has been surgically repaired twice (torn ACL).
“Recovering from an ACL injury is not simple,” remarked Barkley, who tore his in 2020. “The path is long and arduous. Odell is the only person I know with the proper attitude, the right work ethic, and the right people surrounding him to push him to return to the sort of player we are accustomed to seeing. If he comes here, he knows there are those who will have his back.”
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There are several reasons why a Beckham-Giants reunion could not be successful: Limited salary-cap space in 2022 to accommodate his contract demands, the possibility that the Giants won’t make the playoffs, the allure of more explosive offenses, and a relatively tight approach to recruiting a star who admittedly likes to “feel the love” are all factors that could prevent the Giants from signing him.
“We had a pleasant visit,” remarked Daboll. “Except for that, I have nothing else to contribute. I’m concentrating on the Washington game.”
There is also the Shepard-Barkley factor to consider. The chance to meet with former colleagues (and two of his dearest friends) to complete unfinished business with his original squad (2014-2018) tugs at his emotions.
Shepard affirmed, “I believe that has some bearing on it.” But he must make the right decision for himself and his family. We all recognize that.”
The only Giants receiver with more than 280 receiving yards this season is Darius Slayton. Kadarius Toney was moved, and Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson are on season-ending injured reserve, while Kenny Golladay has only four receptions in seven games.
Odell Beckham (13) and Sterling Shepard (87) at the 2017 Giants training camp.
Beckham has averaged 51.1 yards per game with 12 touchdowns in 37 games for the Browns and Rams — a far cry from his days with the Giants, when he averaged 92.8 yards per game with 44 touchdowns in 59 games.
“As soon as Odell enters a locker room, he instantly improves that team,” remarked Barkley.
After years of battling Beckham in college and the NFL, receivers coach Mike Groh was scheduled to meet him for the first time. What does the other side of the field look like?
“Pretty great,” Groh said with a chuckle. “I’m not going to play the comparison game, but we all know that Odell has a unique skill set: His body control and ability to make challenged plays, his natural hands, and the juice he’s got to go the distance with it. He has been a highly effective player no matter where he has played.”
Daboll intended to clarify that he is not shortchanging his existing players by dividing his attention between recruiting Beckham and preparing for a game with significant playoff implications for both teams. Barkley stated that Beckham’s presence in the locker room has not been a distraction.
“My whole focus is on Washington,” stated Daboll. I just received a free dinner.
Due to the fact that he is not working out during the visit, as previously reported by The Post, Beckham’s comeback to the field in 2022 remains uncertain. If he desires a contract with a lesser signing bonus and a higher guaranteed salary in 2023, the Giants have the salary cap flexibility to accommodate him.
“I told him, ‘It would be something amazing if you returned. “The city would be pleased, and it would be like the good old days,” Shepard added. He said, “You’re damn correct about that!”