Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham has always been demonstrative. But it took a dark turn in December, when his matchup with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman turned into a brawl.
Despite that, Giants quarterback Eli Manning said in an interview with ESPN that he thought Beckham made real progress last year in terms of controlling his emotions.
“I think Odell has gotten better,” Manning said, via Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News. “I think he learned you don’t want to be that guy. Let your talent, let your play kind of do the speaking for you. I thought this year he was much better. I thought the Carolina game was the exception. He kind of reverted back to his old self.”
That’s a generous assessment of a guy who let an opponent not only get in his head, but set up residence there long enough to get cable and mail. The spearing Beckham gave Norman late in that game is the exact kind of thing commissioner Roger Goodell was referring to when he suggested that two personal fouls in a game should net an ejection.
But Beckham has always been flamboyant, dancing after big plays and inciting that kind of behavior from opponents as well.
“He’s got a great heart,” Manning said. “He practices hard, he plays hard. He wants to be great. He does so many things that are exceptional, kind of sets the example of how guys should practice and play he game. He made a mistake, he knows it, and he’ll learn from it. I don’t see it being a future problem.”
Manning knows he’s not going to keep Beckham from celebrating big plays, and is fine with that, since it means there are big plays worth celebrating.