Odell Beckham Jr. returned to the practice field on Wednesday, but his status the New York Giants opener remains cloudy.
He did, however, take to the practice field, allowing the Giants faithful to let out a partial sigh of relief, taking his brief practice participation as a positive sign when it comes to his status for Sunday night’s highly anticipated regular season opener against the Dallas Cowboys (8:30 PM EST, NBC).
— Patricia Traina (@Patricia_Traina) September 6, 2017
Odell went through stretching/warmups then worked on the side with a trainer while media was at practice. Nothing on his ankle pic.twitter.com/RPJJiR7uCd
— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) September 6, 2017
— The Giant Insider (@GiantInsider) September 6, 2017
With Wednesday afternoon’s practice moved into the field house at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center due to rain, Beckham partook in pre-practice stretching. He did not put excessive pressure on his ankles and retreated to the side for more stretching and mild footwork while his teammates engaged in individual drills. By the time the media-friendly portion of practice was over, Beckham had moved outdoors with unidentified staff members, where he worked on the practice field.
Despite renewed hope from the fans, head coach Ben McAdoo remained mum on Beckham’s status for Sunday, repeatedly stating the injury was a “day-by-day” issue.
“He’s getting all of the work in he can get and we’ll see how he progresses,” McAdoo said. “If he is cleared medically to play in the game, we will play him. If not, we won’t.”
Though Beckham only briefly took the practice field, he was a full participant with the media, meeting with them for the first time since suffering an ankle injury in the Giants’ preseason showdown in Cleveland on August 21.
The receiver appeared to be in good spirits and expressed optimism, though he too did not disclose his Sunday status.
“Whenever they clear it, then we’ll be cleared,” Beckham said. “it’s really a day to day thing. I feel better than I did yesterday. I feel better than I did the day before yesterday. So, it’s progress. Today was a good day.”
Directly asked if he would take the game field on Sunday, Beckham replied that he “wouldn’t count it out.” He expressed no concern over missing practice reps this week, expressing confidence in his chemistry with quarterback Eli Manning.
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“I’ve been throwing with Eli since I was a sophomore in high school. It’s been two weeks (since the injury). Nothing is really going to change,” Beckham said. “Yeah, I wish I could be practicing. I wish we could have routes, and this and that, etc. But, it is what it is at this point. You just have to kind of keep going with it. Whenever they clear you, you can go.”
Wednesday also allowed Beckham to finally address the controversial hit that ejected him from the late stages of training camp, as well as the final two preseason games. Cleveland Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun faced criticism for laying down a low hit on Beckham’s ankle after a reception, forcing Beckham to leave the game. Though the hit was legal, several Giants, including Landon Collins, took exception to it, especially for its place in a preseason game.
Beckham, however, did not express anger at the hit, calling it “a part of the game.”
“They made rules about safeties hitting high and it being a problem,” Beckham added. “I’d rather (defensive backs) hit me up (high) every single time than go low. But, it’s part of the game. It’s part of the game that you risk getting fined, you risk a suspension. There’s all kinds of things that a (defensive back) has going through their head in the moment. So, I can’t really fault what happened. It just happened. It is what it is. It’s life.”
Beckham himself faced slight criticism for jogging to the locker room after sustaining the injury. He made no apologies for that on Wednesday.
“The injury had already happened. It’s not like jogging, you know, testing it on the sideline is going to make it worse,” he said. “It already happened, so that’s how I get my body right. The only way to feel something for me is to feel it.”
The Giants have two more days of practice before departing for Dallas on Saturday. Some of Beckham’s finest moments have come against America’s team on NBC’s football showcase, with his incredible one-handed catch in November 2014 going down as one of the most memorable plays in NFL history. Though the Giants wound up losing that game, Beckham made a happier memory last season, breaking loose for a 61-yard touchdown that secured a 10-7 Giants victory, allowing them to complete their first season sweep of the Cowboys since the 2011-12 season.
“I had probably one of the longest offseasons ever in my life and I feel like this camp, this season coming up, there was no better season that I would have,” Beckham said. “So, it’s just unfortunate, but it really was just a little setback for me to come back. Whatever. However you want to look at it, I just know I’m in a good place and trying to get there day to day just being patient.”
In other injury news, linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion) was also listed as a non-participant at practice. Cornerbacks Eli Apple (ankle) and Michael Hunter (concussion), defensive tackle Jay Bromley (knee), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle) and fullback/tight end Shane Smith (quad) were all full participants.