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Odell Beckham Jr. will walk through the halls of the Quest Diagnostics Training Center inside 1925 Giants Drive in the next 24 hours or so. Tom Coughlin won’t be there to greet him, or to take him to dinner. Neither will Ben McAdoo. Neither will Pat Shurmur. Neither will Eli Manning.
And please forgive Beckham if he cannot resist the urge to plop down in Dave Gettleman’s old chair and put his feet up on the former general manager’s old desk.
This much is clear: Prominent Giants players want Beckham to join them every bit as much as Von Miller wants him in Buffalo and Jerry Jones wants him in Dallas.
“Shoot, I would love to have him here,” Sterling Shepard said. “When I came in as a rookie, he was one of the first guys to really embrace me and bring me in underneath his wing and let me know the game and how everything goes on and off the field. I’ll be forever grateful for that part of it, and just became my brother over the years, like one of my main dogs. Like he sacrificed a lot to be wherever I need him to be and vice versa.
“He knows we want him here. I don’t need to really say much. I want him to do what’s best for him.”
Someone at his locker asked: “Are you really gonna let him walk out of here and go to another team?”
“I don’t really have much say on the business side of it, he’ll take care of that,” Shepard said, “but like I want to try to keep him here, yeah. That’s gonna be the plan.”
Shepard and Saquon Barkley, who has publicly stated how thrilled he would be with an OBJ II, will join Brian Daboll, Joe Schoen, John Mara and presumably Daniel Jones and likely former partner-in-crime Victor Cruz on the Big Blue welcoming committee before Beckham continues his contract-stalking tour.
No one could possibly have imagined a potential reunion, considering Beckham felt that Gettleman exiled him to Cleveland less than a year after signing him to a five year, $90 million deal … but Beckham needs a team and the Giants need a difference-making receiver, so in that regard it is The Perfect Storm.
Daboll and Schoen aren’t the types to be swayed by star-power, but when Barkley and Shepard vouch for their dear friend, it will resonate with them.
I asked Shepard why a New York Giants reunion would be a good idea for Beckham.
“It’s a place that he’s familiar with,” Shepard said. “You go somewhere else you don’t really know the ins and outs of the building. At least you know what you’re gonna get here.”
I asked Jones what his recruiting pitch to OBJ would be.
“We got a good group of guys in the locker room, a group of guys who come to work every day, a tough group,” Jones said. “We’re in a good position, we’re in a good spot as a team, and I feel confident about the guys we have, so I’m sure he’s love being here.”
Suddenly 30, with a Super Bowl ring on his finger, Beckham is no longer the electric, dynamic, 60-minute game-breaker who instilled fear in defensive backs. But if he is healthy enough nearly 10 months after suffering his torn ACL in the Super Bowl, at the very least he could certainly make life easier for Jones.
“I think he still has a way in the rehab process to go,” Shepard said. “It could be next year, it could be the end of this year, you never know.”
The younger, immature Beckham would not have fulfilled the new regime’s smart, tough and dependable mantra, but if he were to somehow spark a Giants playoff run, he’ll know better now than to invite Daboll on a boat trip to Miami the week before the wild-card game (besides, there is no record of Daboll hobnobbing with Justin Bieber). Daboll was a month from winning a Super Bowl ring as Patriots tight ends coach when Beckham punched a hole in a wall outside the visiting locker room at Lambeau Field following a disastrous performance in the Giants’ 38-13 loss to the Packers in January 2017.
Beckham presumably knows better now than to fight with the kicking net on the sideline or to mimic a dog peeing in the end zone, but even after all the histrionics, the controversial interview with Lil Wayne, a Last Tango in Paris with a young beauty that of course went viral, this was Mara after Gettleman changed his mind about not quitting on talent:
“I will tell you it was a reluctant approval on my part because I happen to like Odell very much, and I recognize the unique talent that he has. It’s not easy to trade that player to another team.”
Shepard expects Beckham to visit him and his two young daughters.
“He loves to see the girls and stuff,” Shepard said.
Schoen and Daboll have not sat down with Shepard to pick his brain about OBJ.
“Just here and there walking down the hallway,” Shepard said. “I think those guys have a good idea about him hearing from other guys around the building and different people around the building.”
Imagine Beckham taking a slant from Jones to the house.
“All those decisions are made well above my pay grade, but excited to have him here and look forward to seeing him,” Jones said.
As is Kayvon Thibodeaux.
“We’re not looking for a savior, we’re looking for guys who really want to come in and work and who have that chip on their shoulder,” Thibodeaux said. “We only want guys who are gonna fight with their back against the wall. I know he’s got that mentality, at least from the outside looking in. I’ve seen him fight back from a lot of adversity, so yeah, if you want to be a wolf amongst wolves, this is where to be.”