NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, December 30, 2015, 9:46 PM
Odell Beckham Jr. says his one-game suspension was a learning experience but he won’t change the passion and intensity he plays with.
He’s coming off a one-game suspension and a week away from the Giants that he called “tough,” the result of a wild Sunday two weeks ago that he himself admits was “poor sportsmanship.”
But Odell Beckham still isn’t going to change. And the Giants don’t want him to, either.
“I don’t think I’m going to change the way that I play football,” Beckham said Wednesday. “I don’t think anything is going to change except learning from this experience. I don’t think that I’m going to play with less intensity or I don’t think I’m going to play with less emotion.”
It was a Beckham equal parts resolute and contrite who returned to Giants practice on Wednesday, intent on putting the nightmare of last week behind him. He said he has no plans to alter his in-game passion, even if it was those emotions that he lost control of against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 20, leading to a three-personal-foul meltdown.
Beckham worked hard not to rehash the events that led to his rage. He said he hasn’t spoken to Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, his antagonist for much of that game. And he neither confirmed nor denied reports that the Panthers had threatened him with a baseball bat and lobbed anti-gay slurs in his direction to set him off.
“Words are words,” he said. “Words are words.”
And words were all Beckham had on Wednesday, as he tried to prove that he had learned from his one-game ban. He said repeatedly that he had “learned” his lesson last week and described how frustrating it was to watch embattled coach Tom Coughlin, already fighting for his job, take heat for not removing a misbehaving star player.
“I don’t like Coach having to deal with anything like that,” Beckham said. “I wouldn’t want even the players to have to deal with stuff like that and have to deal with questions about me. It just was an unfortunate situation and put a lot of people in a lot of bad positions. It’s definitely something that I don’t want to do again.
“You can’t do that type of stuff,” he added. “It’s not what I would want to do for my team. I did not like not being here with them, and it’s just an unfortunate situation.”
Beckham recalled a moment last week when he was approached by two youngsters about his actions and considered his influence on today’s youth.
“I just told them no matter what, you’re always responsible for your own actions,” he said. “And you can only control what you can control and the rest is really out of your hands. For the most part, make sure to take control of what you can.”
Not that the Giants want Beckham to control himself too much. His celebratory antics may occasionally cross a line, but the franchise seems to believe that’s part of the whole Beckham package.
Eli Manning said he still wants Beckham to “bring that same energy and same enthusiasm that he brings to practice and to games.” And offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo went even further, encouraging him to continue to walk the tightrope between peaceful player and penalty machine.
McAdoo added that there’s “no question” that Beckham will be in prime form coming off his suspension when the Giants face the Eagles on Sunday.
“I like his energy, love his passion. I like them salty,” McAdoo said. “I’m speaking the truth: I like that physicality, I like that in a player, a guy who does walk the fine line and is physical and combative and wants to contest everything that happens. I think that’s what makes him who he is.”