Maturing Beckham Puts Team First With Latest Decision

Odell Beckham Jr. just took an important step in becoming a leader on the New York Giants.

With a history of antics and questionable decisions in the past, the star wide receiver has decided to put that all behind him and focus on getting his team back into the playoffs.

A player once called “an immature clown” by former NFL head coach Dick Vermeil, Beckham has never been one to help himself with some of his life choices. He’s undoubtedly a player who loves to have fun. Beckham loves to smile and is downright goofy at times.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – DECEMBER 14: Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants warms up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 14, 2015, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

But there are times the three-time Pro Bowl wideout is his own worst enemy. From his infamous on-field fight with Josh Norman, to his tussle with a kicking net, to deciding to hold a well-publicized party on a boat the week of his first playoff game, Beckham simply hasn’t helped himself or shaken the image that Vermeil summarized so succinctly.

That is, until now.

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On Monday afternoon, NFL Network reporter Kim Jones broke the news that Beckham, in the final year of his rookie contract, won’t be a training camp holdout.

The report shouldn’t have been newsworthy since Beckham said previously that he would be at camp. But this is a player who has been plagued at times with sometimes erratic and even selfish behavior.

And with Beckham, nothing is as it seems.

Nevertheless, the dark cloud of Beckham holding out is now gone around Giants camp, eliminating the need for explosive backpage coverage by the tabloids.

Does this mean we’ve seen the last of Beckham putting his fist through the wall following a playoff loss at Lambeau Field or the player that gets easily riled up by the likes of Norman? We’ll see.

The decision by Beckham to forego holding out is a bold move and very much counter to the persona the media have built around him. Through his own choices and the ensuing media coverage, Beckham has never been seen as a team-first guy. Now, he gets to set the record straight.

Beckham soon will be owed a massive payday. He is undoubtedly one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. His highlight catches and game-changing moments are now a weekly expectation on Sundays.

He will become the highest paid wide receiver in the league soon. The money is coming.

Throughout the first four years of Beckham’s career, he has been fortunate to have Eli Manning throwing him the ball. Undoubtedly the greatest quarterback in Giants history, Manning still has something left in his 37-year old arm, just a year removed from over 4,000 passing yards, a good chunk of which Beckham hauled down. Beckham knows that there’s a contending window of another year, perhaps two years with this four-time Pro Bowl selection. He understands the importance of this training camp to maximize his time with Manning.

Pat Shurmur gives his take on what he's seen from Odell Beckham Jr. at minicamp.

New general manager Dave Gettleman spoke this offseason about a “fresh start” for this team, about turning the proverbial page. While Beckham wasn’t the center of these comments, he might just be getting his own “fresh start” this season. A chance to lead this Giants team, not just with catches, but by example.

This decision to be at camp on Wednesday opens a new page into the chronicles of a player who is set to rewrite the history books of this franchise.

[Giants Training Camp Live Airs Thursday at 4:30 PM on MSG and MSG GO. Download Free.]