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Saints put WR Ted Ginn Jr. on injured reserve with knee injury


METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints placed veteran receiver Ted Ginn Jr. on injured reserve Thursday with a knee injury, which will mean a greater role for backups Cameron Meredith and Tre’Quan Smith.

It’s unclear if Ginn has a chance to return later this season after missing the required eight weeks. He had been dealing with a knee injury for more than a month and did not play in Week 5 before the Saints had a bye in Week 6. It was not immediately clear if he suffered a setback or if the Saints decided to give him additional time to recover.

Losing Ginn is a disappointing development for the NFL’s top-scoring offense. Ginn, 33, had one of the best seasons of his career after he joined the Saints as a free agent in 2017, posting 53 catches, 787 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season and then 12 catches, 187 yards and a TD in two playoff games.

The Saints do have good depth at the position and an obvious contingency plan in place. Smith, who was drafted in the third round out of UCF, replaced Ginn as New Orleans’ primary deep threat in Week 5 and delivered in a big way in a 43-19 rout of the Washington Redskins. Smith had three catches for 111 yards, including a 62-yard TD and a 35-yard score.

Before that, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Smith had just one catch for 18 yards on the season. But he showed his big-play ability throughout training camp and the preseason.

Meredith, meanwhile, plays both in the slot and on the outside. And he has seen his role with the Saints steadily increase since he was a healthy inactive in Weeks 1 and 2.

Meredith, 26, joined the Saints this year as a restricted free agent after he suffered a major knee injury with the Chicago Bears last summer. It took him a little while to get up to speed after he also missed time in training camp with an unspecified ailment. But he had a season-high five catches for 71 yards in Ginn’s absence in Week 5.

The Saints will also rely on Pro Bowl playmakers like No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas and the running back duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, among others.

The Saints may also have an injury concern on the offensive line this week. Both of their starting guards missed practice Thursday (Larry Warford with a back injury and Andrus Peat with a head injury). The team re-signed veteran offensive lineman Michael Ola for added depth.

In positive injury news for the Saints, top cornerback Marshon Lattimore has cleared the concussion protocol after he was sidelined during the first quarter of that Week 5 game against Washington. Lattimore has practiced fully all week and is expected to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and their ninth-ranked passing offense.



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New York Giants fine Odell Beckham Jr. for comments on team’s heart


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have fined wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for comments he made last week questioning the team’s heart, according to a report by Fox Sports.

Speaking to ESPN’s Josina Anderson last week, the Pro Bowl wide receiver said the 1-4 Giants lacked passion.

“A lot of it has to do with the energy that we don’t have, that we don’t bring every single day,” he said in an interview that aired Sunday. “And you know me. I’m a passionate, energetic person. I always have to have that. If I don’t, it’s gonna be a problem for me. And just playing with some heart. We just need to play with some heart.”

Beckham also said in the interview, conducted alongside rapper Lil Wayne, that the Giants needed to throw the ball downfield more often.

When asked if quarterback Eli Manning was the problem, Beckham said, “Uhh, I don’t know. I feel like … He’s not going to get out of the pocket. We know Eli’s not going to run it. Can he still throw it? Yeah. It’s cool catching it shallow and trying to take it, but I want to go over the top of somebody.”

Coach Pat Shurmur expressed his public disapproval of Beckham’s actions over the weekend.

“All right, listen, I’m going to answer all the drama questions right now and I’m going to go back to what I said. I addressed it with Odell. I addressed it with our team,” Shurmur said in an animated tone after Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. “I publicly declared that I didn’t agree with his comments and I asked anybody that was interested if they wanted clarification [to] go to Odell because he’s a big man.

“Now, I’m not going to give the public a pound of flesh on this, all right. … These are the kind of things, in my opinion, when we have the locker room that we have that will help galvanize them because the locker room took care of it, and that is all I’m saying on it. Finito. Done.”

Beckham didn’t apologize or take back his comments, and said he thought it had a positive effect on the team.

“I don’t regret anything,” he said. “I don’t regret anything that I said. If it took that for us to come together as a team like we did [Sunday]. I can take that every single time.”

Manning brushed off the comments, saying he and Beckham “have a great relationship.”

Beckham led the Giants with 39 catches for 462 yards and a touchdown entering Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

But his frustration was visible in that game. With two seconds left in the first half and the Giants trailing 24-6, Beckham was seen walking off the field and into the locker room before the final play. He did not return until after the opening kickoff of the second half.

They ran one final play before halftime with their offense on the field. Beckham was nowhere to be seen.

Beckham also left early two weeks earlier in a loss to the Saints to receive an IV.

Beckham had two catches on four targets for 12 yards in the first half, when the Giants were a discombobulated mess. Manning was 10-of-23 passing for 163 yards with an interception as they managed only two field goals in the opening 30 minutes.

Shurmur was even caught on camera in the second quarter appearing to say, “Throw the ball!” after Manning dumped a second-and-long pass to Cody Latimer in the flat. He then dumped a third-and-long pass well short of the first-down marker before the Giants punted.



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New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. brushes off criticism, ‘nothing that can come in between us’


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Odell Beckham Jr. is handling the criticism and outrage at his comments during an ESPN interview by brushing it off as little more than everyday noise. The New York Giants wide receiver has been under fire for his comments about quarterback Eli Manning, the state of the offense and more.

“Just chatter,” Beckham said on Tuesday. “Same approach every single day, get up, be the best that I can be. We’re moving forward. My teammates, my brothers, there’s nothing that can come in between us. We’ve had these conversations and like I said, we’re all moving forward onto Philly.”

Fellow wide receiver Sterling Shepard said he hasn’t heard any talk of the interview in the locker room this week outside of media availability. The Giants (1-4) have limited time to prepare for Thursday night’s matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.

More than a handful of players told ESPN they hadn’t watched the full interview of Beckham and Lil Wayne alongside NFL Insider Josina Anderson, which aired Sunday. They didn’t intend to either.

“We’re not focused on that,” safety and team captain Michael Thomas said.

Lil Wayne did take to Instagram on Tuesday to express his displeasure with some of the reaction to the interview. He specifically took exception to comments made by “Around the Horn” panelist and The Athletic writer Frank Isola that questioned why Lil Wayne was next to Beckham for the interview. He also wasn’t especially pleased with Eli Manning’s joke Monday that he didn’t “watch Lil Wayne that much.”

Manning, Lil Wayne and Beckham are all Louisiana natives.

Beckham’s comments in the interview were enough to draw outrage from coach Pat Shurmur.

Beckham felt the need to address his teammates over the weekend. He said he believes that was enough to put this issue to rest, especially after seeing an improved effort from the offense in a 33-31 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

“Yeah, I think we all understand each other,” Beckham said. “Like I said, there’s nothing that is going to come in between my brothers, my teammates. This is something that is going to pull us closer. I felt very close as a team this Sunday, and that’s the way that we have to play. That’s the way we’re going to fight.

“Nobody in here likes to lose. We’re all tired of losing. We want to change that culture, atmosphere, whatever it is, because this is a place that has a lot of pride and we want to be able to be proud of what we display and do all those things.”

While the Giants lost to the Panthers in the final seconds Sunday, Beckham and Co. are still viewing their first 30-point game since the 2015 season as a step in the right direction.

“It was a big week for us. We took a big step,” Beckham said. “Unfortunately, we lost on a 63-yard field goal. If I had to lose on a 63-yard field goal, so be it. That’s impressive by that kicker to be able to do that with the game on the line and hit it. We’re taking steps in the right direction.”

Beckham said he believes this week is their chance to reshape the season. The Giants, despite a 1-4 start, are 1 1/2 games out of the NFC East lead as no team in the division has a winning record.



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Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t know if Eli Manning is reason for the New York Giants’ struggling offense


Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants have been searching for answers to their struggling offense entering Sunday’s matchup with the Carolina Panthers. In a wide-ranging interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson and Lil Wayne earlier this week, Beckham couldn’t rule out quarterback Eli Manning as the problem and admitted he wasn’t fully content with his role.

Manning has been Beckham’s starting quarterback ever since the star wide receiver entered the league in 2014. The two have combined for 38 touchdowns, tied for sixth among active quarterback-receiver duos entering Sunday, but they haven’t connected for a touchdown this year.

“I don’t know,” Beckham said when asked if there was an issue at quarterback. “Like I said, I feel like he’s not going to get out the pocket. He’s not — we know Eli’s not running it. But is it a matter of time issue? Can he still throw it, yeah, but it’s been pretty safe and it’s been, you know … cool catching shallow [routes] and trying to take it to the house. But I’m, you know, I want to go over the top of somebody.”

Manning has completed 3 of 12 passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield this season entering Sunday. He is 2-of-5 on such throws to Beckham, with both completions coming in the opener. Beckham has been targeted twice downfield in the past three weeks.

It has the Pro Bowl wide receiver questioning whether he is being used in a role that maximizes his potential.

“I haven’t been in this situation. I haven’t been in the place where I felt like I could really go out and do everything that I’m capable of doing,” Beckham said. “I don’t get 20 targets like some other receivers, you know.”

Beckham has been targeted 45 times over the first four weeks, tied for eighth in the NFL. He has 31 catches for 331 yards.

“I feel like in the past five years, they found a way to run a Cover 2, keep everything in front, and that’s how they played me,” Beckham said. “And there’s no way to — how do we beat this? I feel like I’m being outschemed, and then I also don’t have a chance to, like, do something where I’ve got to take a slant and go 60. And not to say that’s not fun, but it’s like I want some easy touchdowns too. I watch everybody across the league. All the top receivers get the ball the way that they, you know, should. And if they don’t, they say something about it.”

The Giants (1-3) have failed to reach 20 points in three of their four games. The offense is sputtering in an extension of the previous two years even though it’s a new system under coach Pat Shurmur.

Beckham mentioned needing to see more energy and heart from the Giants. Shurmur had responded to those comments Friday by saying he thought they just needed better execution.

“I think it’s everything at the moment. It’s just everything. It’s just everything,” Beckham said. “And not to say that it’s not going to work at the moment. I feel like I work entirely way too hard.”

Beckham signed a five-year extension that could be worth $95 million with the Giants this offseason. He’s going nowhere.

Still, he couldn’t say for sure whether he is truly happy in New York.

“It’s a tough question,” said Beckham, who makes his offseason home in Los Angeles. “Obviously, I love seeing the sunshine all the time. I love, you know, I love being in L.A. I just like that atmosphere, but this is where I’m at. I remember before games, I used to get that. I used to get butterflies, like good butterflies. I was anxious. And now when I step on the field, it’s something completely different. It’s not butterflies.

“It’s like I want to be here, like I’ve been waiting to get here this whole time. I feel like a caged animal who gets this — it’s my 60 minutes of playtime. You know, I can play with other people. We can play nice, or we don’t have to play nice. But I get to play, and I get to do all this. This is my time to be out of the cage. You know, if somebody’s messing with me during my time to be out of the cage, like, it’s going to be a problem.”

In a season where a record number of points were scored through four weeks, the Giants are near the bottom of the league, averaging 18.3 points per game. It’s hard for Beckham to watch the Giants struggle and not reach the end zone himself.

“Heated,” he said of what it’s like to watch other teams’ offensive success, specifically the Los Angeles Rams. “You know, because I know what I’m capable of. I know what I feel like I bring to the table each and every day. And that’s all I want to do. That’s literally all I want to do. I — I’ve given up — personally sacrificed a lot of things recently. Just giving it up, just because this is all I want to do. … We going to get it right, as long as I’m here, like I just — I don’t see myself losing, and I hate losing. I don’t want to be the one at the end of the career who, ‘Oh, he had a great career, and all this, no — no rings, no none of that.’ Like, that’s not my — that’s not why I came here to play. That’s not my M.O.”



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Ted Ginn Jr., New Orleans Saints wide receiver, out vs. Washington Redskins with knee injury


NEW ORLEANS — Ted Ginn Jr. has been ruled out of Monday night’s game with a knee injury, which could create more opportunity for New Orleans Saints rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith or fourth-year pro Cameron Meredith.

The severity of Ginn’s injury is unknown. He played through a knee injury in recent weeks despite being limited in some practices, but then he didn’t practice at all this week. The Saints (3-1) have a bye in Week 6, which gives him extra time to heal.

Ginn, who is used often as a deep threat, has 12 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns this season. He ranks second among Saints receivers behind Michael Thomas in every category, though running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Benjamin Watson have more catches and yards.

Smith, a third-round pick from Central Florida, could potentially run downfield routes in Ginn’s place. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder showed some big-play ability throughout training camp and the preseason, but he has just one catch for 18 yards so far this season.

Meredith, meanwhile, has gradually worked his way into the offense after recovering from a knee injury suffered in 2017, when he was with the Chicago Bears. He was inactive for the first two games this season. Then he caught four passes for 43 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks.

Meredith (6-3, 207) could be used both in the slot and on the outside. Second-year pro Austin Carr is also an option in the slot.

The Saints’ healthy pass-catchers could be part of history on Monday night when New Orleans hosts the Washington Redskins. Drew Brees is just 201 yards away from passing Peyton Manning as the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leader.

Washington, however, ranks among the NFL’s top three defenses in total yards, passing yards and points allowed per game.

The Saints also released running back Mike Gillislee and officially activated running back Mark Ingram following his four-game suspension.

New Orleans signed Gillislee in Week 1 after he was released by the New England Patriots, but he carried the ball just 16 times for 43 yards with one catch for 9 yards, no touchdowns and one lost fumble.



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Where are the touchdowns for Odell Beckham Jr.? – New York Giants Blog


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — That celebration Odell Beckham Jr. had planned for his first score of the season has been put on ice. He is waiting, a bit longer than expected, for that elusive touchdown.

It’s approaching unchartered territory heading into Week 5. Beckham has never gone more than four consecutive games in a single season without reaching the end zone. This will be a career-worst stretch if he fails to score a touchdown for the fifth straight game Sunday when the Giants play the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.

Beckham didn’t score a touchdown the first four games of the 2016 season. He finally reached the end zone in Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers that year, then twice the following week against the Baltimore Ravens. It was also that game against the Ravens when he had over 200 yards receiving in the second half and saved the Giants’ season with a 75-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter.

Boy, could the Giants use some sort of repeat performance. They finished that season 11-5. Beckham ended with 10 touchdown receptions.

History says the celebrations are coming for the Giants and their star wide receiver. This is a player who scored the game-winning touchdown in his first career game and came into this season averaging an NFL-best .81 touchdown grabs per game since entering the league in 2014.

Is this the week when order is restored?

“I don’t know,” Beckham said on Thursday. “You seem more concerned about the end zone than me.”

His touchdown drought is a product of the offense, its lack of success and opportunities. Beckham has one catch for minus-2 yards on four red zone targets in four games. That puts him well behind his red zone pace from 2014-16, when he averaged 23 targets, 13 catches and seven touchdowns on plays inside the opposition’s 2-yard line.

Quarterback Eli Manning hasn’t been able to get the ball to Beckham near or in the end zone. He missed Beckham on a play deep down the seam in the opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He missed him on a pair of plays in Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints that could’ve gone for substantial gains.

The Giants’ inability to get the ball downfield this season — not just to Beckham — has been a problem. Manning has hit on only 3 of 12 passes of 20-plus yards. Two of those three were to Beckham in the opener. They haven’t connected since.

It is becoming harder and harder for Beckham to produce those trademark flashes of brilliance that littered the previous four seasons. His average depth of target is 9.98 yards this season, the lowest of his career according to ESPN Stats & Information.

There are still plays to be made downfield. There have been times Beckham has been open or in one-on-one matchups, but for reasons that also stretch beyond the quarterback — whether it be pressure allowed by the offensive line or situation — those plays are being left on the field.

“They’re there, they’re not there, it’s just a matter of doing it,” Beckham said. “There’s only so much … they’re there, they’re not there. I don’t know how to answer that. There’s opportunities, there’s not opportunities. It’s just about taking advantage of the opportunities that are there.”

Beckham and the Giants have done an admirable job of staying positive despite failing to reach 20 points in three of their four games. Beckham laughed Wednesday when the word “frustration” was used in multiple questions. He didn’t think that was the appropriate choice of words.

The three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver still leads the Giants with 31 receptions for 331 yards. His 45 targets are eighth-most in the NFL.

But Manning and the Giants aren’t going to force it to him downfield or in the end zone. This much is clear by their early-season actions and rhetoric.

“I think [the touchdown] just comes in a natural play of the game. I don’t think if we try to start forcing the ball to get anybody touchdowns, I think you run into some risky business, so to speak,” offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. “I think that he’s very talented. He’s going to get the ball. He’s going to get us in the end zone. He’s going to get in the end zone.”

Beckham’s touchdown totals his first three years were 12-13-10. He had three in four games last season.

It was never easy. He was always the center of attention for the opposing defense. Beckham has done it through constant double-teams and against zone defenses protecting against him from making big plays.

“I do see where people most certainly are paying attention to where Odell Beckham is lined up, that’s for doggone sure,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “That makes a lot of sense to me.”

This is nothing new, though. Beckham has been seeing this since midway through his rookie season. It never affected his ability to get in the end zone before, and shouldn’t affect it now.

Soon enough he’ll be dancing in the end zone.



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New York Giants’ receiver Odell Beckham Jr. says he can play better


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – New York GiantsOdell Beckham Jr. is 12th in the NFL with 271 receiving yards. He still thinks he could – and should – do better despite those three games being his first since breaking his ankle last October.

There was one play in particular during Sunday’s 27-22 win over the Houston Texans where Beckham wasn’t pleased with what he saw on tape.

“There have still been times where you’re coming back, and I’m used to everything, but it’s like you’re scared to just hit it like you used to,” Beckham said on Thursday. “And I saw there was one opportunity I missed. I was upset about it. There was a slant and it cleared out for me. It was perfect, and I kind of slowed down and [I] just hesitated a little bit for a second. And that could have been the difference. That’s the ones that go 60 or 70.”

Or in this case 91 yards.

The play Beckham was referring to presumably came in the third quarter. It was a first-and-10 from the Giants’ 9-yard line. Beckham caught a quick slant and before he ever hit high gear was clipped at his heels by cornerback Aaron Colvin. It went for a 13-yard gain instead of a 91-yard touchdown.

Beckham insists there was a hint of hesitation that cost him all those yards. It was hard to even seen with the naked eye. But he said it happened and had an idea of why.

“I just think that is part of getting back into it. Third game,” Beckham said. “It’s going to come and when it rains it pours.”

When looking at that play, all Beckham could think of was a 2015 matchup with the Jets. In that game he ran an identical route, caught the ball in stride and took it for a 72-yard score. This he believes is the difference between then (at the top of his game) vs. now.

Maybe there is something to it. Or maybe Beckham is just being hard on himself. He is known to be a tough self-critic.

“I’m never content. That is not a word I like to use,” Beckham said. “But I don’t know. It’s something I’m just coming back. I’m trying to feel it out. And I’ll regret that moment for life. I’ll watch that film and will remember that I could’ve taken that for 80. But it didn’t happen and I’m happy with what we’re doing. I’m definitely not content. I feel like I can always do more. That will always be my mentality. I can go for 500 yards and I’ll still look back at that one pass you didn’t get and it’s like, wow, I could’ve went for 560 and a touchdown. … That’s just how my mind is, how I’m wired.”

This is just fine with the Giants, who signed him to a five-year extension that could potentially be worth $95 million. Coach Pat Shurmur agrees with the approach and Beckham’s self-assessment.

“I’m glad when players say that,” Shurmur said. “When players are critical of their play and still have production, I think that is terrific. It means they are trying to get incrementally better. I agree. Let’s hope they all get better.”

An improved Beckham could be scary.

“Not for me,” Shurmur said.

The next step is reaching the end zone. Beckham hasn’t gotten there in the first three weeks of the season, when he has 24 receptions on 35 targets.

Beckham has gone four regular season games without a touchdown just once during his professional career. That came the first four weeks of the 2016 campaign.

“I love being in the end zone. It’s been a while. It’s been a while just being on the field,” he said. “Getting in the end zone, of course I want to get in there, but when it comes, it’s going to come.”



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Jalen Ramsey of Jacksonville Jaguars downplays Odell Beckham Jr. of New York Giants matchup


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jalen Ramsey‘s matchup against Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the biggest storylines of the first week of the NFL season, but Ramsey said Thursday that people are making a much bigger deal of that than they should.

“A lot of people are going to try and make it about me and him specifically. That’s not what it is about,” said the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ third year cornerback, who was added to the injury report on Thursday because of a sore right ankle. “Football is a team game. Eleven guys out there for us, 11 guys out there for them. We going to have to come together and do what we gotta do to try and get a win. I’m going to try and do my part.

“… It’s 11 versus 11. It’s not me vs. him all game. I’ll be on him a fair amount, I’m sure other guys will be on him too.”

Ramsey had little else to say during Thursday’s six-and-a-half-minute news conference. He was complimentary of Beckham, calling the New York Giants receiver a premier player, and he was nowhere near as boastful as he was in an ESPN story by Mina Kimes or the piece in GQ magazine in which he was critical of numerous NFL quarterbacks, including saying Beckham is the reason for Giants quarterback Eli Manning‘s success.

That’s regular-season Ramsey, though. He’s somewhat low key before games but has much more to say after, especially if he has success against a receiver. He was critical of Steve Smith Sr. after the Jaguars’ game against Baltimore in 2016 and ripped into Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green after the two were ejected at the end of the first half of a game last year.

Ramsey’s quiet demeanor on Thursday afternoon was an anticlimactic end to an eventful month. In addition to the GQ and ESPN pieces that were released in August, Ramsey also was suspended for a week for a profane tirade against local media and threatening one of those reporters on Twitter.

Despite his effort – and that of teammate Telvin Smith and defensive coordinator Todd Wash — to downplay Sunday’s matchup, how Ramsey fares against Beckham will be significant in determining the outcome of the game. That matchup got a bit more intriguing when the Jaguars announced that Ramsey was going to appear on the injury report because of the ankle soreness.

The team said Ramsey did not suffer an injury on Wednesday or Thursday but was added to the report because he took limited snaps in practice. He is still expected to play against the Giants and Beckham.

“Looking forward to it,” Ramsey said. “Looking forward to the beginning of the season with the whole team.”



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Odell Beckham Jr. of New York Giants says he won’t be baited by Jalen Ramsey of Jacksonville Jaguars


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Cornerback Jalen Ramsey tries to get into the heads of opposing receivers. That’s a consistent component to his game.

Odell Beckham Jr. insists it won’t happen on Sunday, when the New York Giants host the Jacksonville Jaguars in their season opener.

“I think I learned my lesson,” said Beckham, who has been baited before, most notably by Josh Norman late in the 2015 season. “[Ramsey] is, if not the best, one of the best corners in the league. There is no way around it.”

The loquacious Ramsey, who praised Beckham but was critical of Giants quarterback Eli Manning in a GQ article last month, will likely be in Beckham’s ear all afternoon on Sunday. It’s not something Beckham is unfamiliar with at this point. He knows he has been a target for quite some time, admitting that some of it has been self-inflicted, and he hasn’t always handled it as well as he would have liked.



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Odell Beckham Jr. peers react on social media to the New York Giants star’s new contract


Odell Beckham Jr. on Monday became the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, agreeing to a five-year extension that can be worth $95 million over the course of the deal with $65 million in guaranteed money, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

The reaction on social media was quick as peers saluted the New York Giants superstar.





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