EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was back on the field Tuesday for mandatory minicamp and flip-flopped on questions about whether his absence from voluntary OTAs had to do with his contract.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently reported through sources that Beckham’s contract was part of the reason he remained away from the Giants’ workouts over the past three weeks. Beckham is set to make $1.8 million this season.
“You probably have to ask the people who do the contracts,” Beckham said when asked the first time whether the contract factored into his decision to skip OTAs. “I wouldn’t be able to tell you.”
When asked later in the 11:30 a.m. interview session with reporters, his first since the season ended in January with a dud in Green Bay, about whether he wanted a new deal before his fourth season, Beckham again deferred to others.
“I couldn’t really tell you. Like I said, when the time comes … Any contract question is not for me to discuss,” he said. “I haven’t really talked to anyone about contracts. So it’s not something that has been in the air. It was kind of something that was brought up amongst other people. It was never really in my discussion. Take it a day at a time, and when it comes, it will come.”
When pressed a third time at the end of the interview whether Beckham missed OTAs to prove a point, his answer was markedly different.
“No,” he said. “I was just out in Los Angeles training. I’ve seen the whole holdout stuff and I’ve never really seen it work, so it was never in my mind that I’m not going to go to OTAs to get a new contract. I don’t think that really proves a point, in my opinion. I was out there really taking time for myself to reflect on life and value what is really, really important. And like I said, to grow and mature in life. You should be growing each and every year, each and every day.”
General manager Jerry Reese said at the end of last season that Beckham needed to take a look in the mirror and grow up this offseason. Beckham finished with over 90 catches, 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns for the third consecutive season. He made another Pro Bowl, but performed poorly in his first career playoff game after a boat trip in Miami earlier in the week. Beckham punched a hole in the wall in the bowels of Lambeau Field after that loss.
After the way last season ended, Beckham’s absence from voluntary OTAs garnered plenty of attention. But quarterback Eli Manning didn’t seem to think Beckham missed a ton.
“Not much,” said Manning, who remained in touch with Beckham over the past few months. “He’ll be fine.”
Beckham described the time spent in Los Angeles training as somewhat cathartic. He worked with his trainer Jamal Liggin four to five times per week, and sometimes twice a day.
“I was really just taking the time to train, make sure I get proper training, really grow and mature in yourself,” Beckham said. “You just have time to be able to reflect on life and learn new things. It was a great process for me. I definitely enjoyed it.”
The Giants seemed to ease Beckham back into team drills on Tuesday. He only sporadically worked with the first-team offense. He took just seven reps in team drills, even though coach Ben McAdoo thought he came back in good shape.
Beckham also said his relationship with Reese is the same. Nothing there had changed.
Although the Giants haven’t discussed with Beckham’s team about a new contract, co-owner John Mara said at a Giants Town Hall event that they wanted Beckham as a Giant for life.
“I think we’re on the same page there,” Beckham said. “I think this is one of the best organizations in the league, and I would love to be here for the rest of my life.”