Giants WR Beckham not changing his game, just how he reacts
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. isn't changing the way he plays, just the actions that led to his recent one-game suspension for multiple violations of safety-related playing rules.
A contrite Beckham returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since being suspended for his actions, including a helmet-to-helmet hit, in a game against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 20.
Beckham said it was tough being away from his teammates. He refused to comment on his suspension, saying he simply abided by the ruling.
The dynamic second-year pro also said he has not spoken with the Panthers' Josh Norman, the cornerback with whom he had a game-long run-in that included pushing, shoving and a lot trash talking
''I don't think I'm going to change the way that I play football,'' Beckham said after practice.
''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,'' Beckham said. ''This is football and this is what I love. I love it and like I said, you just learn from it.''
Beckham refused to say what specifically happened in the game or in the moments that led up to his three personal fouls.
''What happened was I wasn't controlling myself and ended up hurting my team, big penalties, and it was a poor display of sportsmanship and not something you would want to put on film,'' he said. ''All you can do in life is move forward, you can't get the moment back, you can't get the opportunities back, you can't go back in time, and you just learn from it.''
Beckham said he doesn't want children who look up to him seeing him acting improperly on the field. He also said the suspension might have been good for him.
''I think things like this help you grow and they help you mature,'' the 2014 NFL offensive rookie of the year said. ''In life you're taught so many lessons, good or bad.''
One of Beckham's biggest regrets was that coach Tom Coughlin drew criticism for not taking him out of the game to cool him down.
''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.''
Beckham has 91 receptions this season, tying his rookie total. He needs nine catches on Sunday to become the second Giants player in history with at least 100 in a season; Steve Smith holds the franchise record with 107 receptions in 2009.
Beckham's 1,396 yards this season is the second-highest total in Giants' history. He needs 141 yards to break Victor Cruz's franchise record of 1,536, set in 2011.
Beckham has 13 touchdown catches, tying the Giants record set by Homer Jones in 1967.
The Giants offense sputtered without Beckham in a 49-17 loss at Minnesota on Sunday.
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo expects Beckham to have a big game Sunday against the Eagles. He also doesn't want him to tone down his game, even though cameras in MetLife Stadium are going to be watching his every move.
''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 player, a guy who does walk the line and is physical and combative and wants to contest everything that happens. I think that's what makes him who he is. We've just got to keep the flags in the officials' pockets.''
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