EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could tell he was ready for the season even while hosting his second annual football camp. In fact, he claimed to have never felt quite this good.
“I don’t think so,” he said at the Citi Odell Beckham Jr. Football ProCamp at Kean University, which attracted close to 600 campers. “I think this might be the most [I’ve been ready] in my lifetime. In every which way, I just feel it there. … I’ve really been training, and to have these next six weeks to get another opportunity to train, it’s going to be great.
“Just like you said — mentally, physically, spiritually, everything. I don’t think I’ve been as ready as I am now.”
Beckham elected to skip voluntary OTAs this year. He remained in Los Angeles and worked with his trainer, Jamal Liggin. The Giants were extremely complimentary of the receiver’s conditioning at minicamp this past week.
Even when Beckham was racing campers in a 40-yard dash on Saturday, his mother, Heather Van Norman, a former track star and coach, noted he was running well. Beckham said she was impressed with the way he was driving and in “drive phase” for 40 yards, even though he said he wasn’t really running.
How will this translate to the season after three record-breaking Pro Bowl efforts?
“I guess you have to wait and see,” said Beckham, who is the only player in NFL history to top 90 catches, 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three professional seasons. “Words can only do so much — you have to wait to see what happens.”
Beckham spent almost seven hours Saturday putting smiles on kids’ faces at his camp before heading back to Los Angeles. The camp is something he started last year and plans on continuing, and possibly even expanding. There are thoughts of potentially doing something with his close friends and former LSU teammates Jeremy Hill and Jarvis Landry in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Beckham matched up against children in grades one through eight on offense and defense on Saturday in New Jersey, and despite him being in prime shape, he admitted he got shook once. More often than not, though, he got the better of the 1-on-1 matchups, just as he does on Sundays.
It was a gratifying experience no matter the result.
“It’s just so much fun being out here,” he said. “Each one of them has a smile on their face. Just out here having fun. This is what it’s about. It kind of reminds you why you do it. The same love and joy that they have is what got me to where I’m at.”
Beckham’s at the point in his career where he is an established player trying to take his game to the next level. His 2016 season ended with a disappointing performance during a playoff loss in Green Bay.
But the bouncing back is part of the message he was hoping to pass along to the kids. It’s what he tried to show them on the field Saturday and plans to put on display in the fall.
“Just show them [to] come out and play and give it your best every single time — win, lose or draw,” he said. “Teach them how to come back after losing. Teach them not how to accept losing but how to get better from it. Just always keep continuing to grow, and most importantly, have fun.”