Known for his verbal and physical feuds with defenders, New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. insists those days are behind him.
The old Odell Beckham Jr. can’t come to the phone right now.
Perhaps the only one more hyped than New York Giants fans about the return of the superstar receiver to field is Jalen Ramsey, who will line up across from Beckham when the former’s Jacksonville Jaguars open the 2018 NFL season against Beckham and his comrades in blue. Ramsey has expressed his anticipation for the showdown on several occasions throughout the offseason, making the Giants-Jaguars tilt one of the most anticipated matchups on the Week 1 calendar.
Known for his fiery head-to-heads with opposing cornerbacks, Beckham insisted on Wednesday that his days of sparring with those on the other side, be it verbally or physically, are over.
“I think I learned my lesson,” Beckham said when prompted about Ramsey’s challenge, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. “He is, if not the best, one of the best corners in the league. There is no way around it.”
Beckham, frankly, might’ve gotten off easy in Ramsey’s off-season trash-talking. In an interview with GQ’s Clay Skipper, Ramsey tore down several of his opponents, but praised Beckham for his role in the Giants’ offense. The compliment, however, came at the expense of Beckham’s quarterback, Eli Manning.
“It’s not really Eli. I think it’s Odell,” Ramsey said, commenting on what makes the Giants’ offense go. “I won’t say Eli’s good, I’ll say Odell’s good. And their connection is good.”
Ramsey’s reputation as a trash talker caused uncomfortable memories of December 2015’s showdown with the Carolina Panthers to resurface. That game served as the origin of Beckham’s rivalry with Josh Norman, with the pair engaging in hits after the whistle and conversations that consisted of anything but Christmas greetings. Beckham was suspended for one game after the incident, and the hostilities carried over when Norman joined the Giants’ division rivals, the Washington Redskins.
Signer of a five-year, $95 million contract extension last week, Beckham insisted, that that part of his career was over.
“I’m kind of seeing things different now and just knowing it is going to be a matchup,” Beckham said, per Raanan. “But it’s not going to be something where history repeats itself and the past and buying into the same thing.”
With the past in the past, Beckham is now looking forward to the matchup with Ramsey, part of his first game back from injury after missing the last 11 games of the 2017 season with an ankle injury.
“I can’t stop thinking about it,” Beckham said of Week 1. “I’m sure it won’t be as friendly as it was over the offseason. We’re both very, very competitive. I know that for sure. It’s going to be a good game.”