The Giants and their fans won’t escape the storylines that surround Odell Beckham Jr. as he makes his first-ever Super Bowl appearance this Sunday with the high-powered Los Angeles Rams — one more indignity to suffer from the Dave Gettleman era at MetLife Stadium.
This March will make it three years since the Giants traded away the superstar wide receiver to the Cleveland Browns for safety Jabrill Peppers and two draft picks that became first-round defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and third-round edge Oshane Ximines.
The shocking move came just six months after Gettleman inked Beckham to a record five-year, $95 million contract extension — a deal that suggested the explosive playmaker would spend his prime years and the ensuing long haul with the team that drafted him 12th overall at the 2014 draft. Especially when Gettleman reiterated time and time again how Beckham was not signed to a big deal just to get traded away.
Beckham had already proved to management that he was willing to do what it took to be the proverbial good soldier, limiting drama on and off the field as well as in the headlines.
So, naturally, there still is some animosity lingering from the 29-year-old when former Giants defensive end and ring-of-honor member, Osi Umenyiora, hopped on a virtual press conference and reminded Beckham of an old conversation in which he implored Beckham “not to leave” the Giants.
“First, I didn’t leave, I got booted,” Beckham replied. “Second, it is a great feeling to be here at this moment.”
Understandably so. After forcing his way out of Cleveland in the middle of the season, Beckham joined the Rams and added another crown jewel to the team’s embarrassment of offensive riches. Over the Rams’ three-game run to Super Bowl LVI, Beckham has posted 19 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown. That included a nine-catch, 113-yard performance in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers to punch Los Angeles’ ticket to a local Super Bowl matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
That’s the kind of performance that the Giants and their fans dreamed about Beckham putting together for Big Blue. Now they’re forced to watch him compete for a ring while the Giants are in the middle of a complete rebuild following a miserable 22-59 five-year stretch.
“It’s crazy to see how the narratives have changed,” Beckham said when speaking about how the sports world perceives him now compared to when he was with the Giants. “Again, when I was younger, I definitely did things that could have helped not have me be seen for who I truly am. There was a lot of trying to create a story. It’s easier to sell drama than it is to write up good things about somebody.”
One final deserved punishment before what many hope will be a turnaround for one of the NFL’s worst franchises over the last half-decade.