The Giants and their fans have been frustrated with Odell Beckham Jr. ever since he hurt his hamstring back in training camp. First Beckham couldn’t find his way onto the field, then the offense appeared lost without him. Finally, the talented rookie was deemed healthy enough to play this past Sunday.
It’s safe to say that the wait for Beckham was worth it. The 12th overall draft pick out of LSU caught four passes in his NFL debut, including a 15-yard grab that gave the Giants the lead in the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t exactly know that the ball was coming, but I had an idea,” said Beckham. “I just saw it go up and I’m just thinking in my head, ‘There’s no way that I’m going to let this one hit the ground.’ I did my best to just run under it and catch it. That feeling is something that I can’t even describe.”
Even before Beckham came down with what turned out to be the winning touchdown catch, Sunday was a very emotional day for him. After getting hurt in training camp and having to wait a long time to finally make his debut, the game against Atlanta was one that the rookie won’t soon forget.
“There were definitely a lot of nerves,” said Beckham, “It kind of reminded me back during the draft, it didn’t all seem real. I finally get down, I’m in the green room and it all just hits you. I remember the national anthem came on and all of the emotions, all of the stress, the anxiety, the anger, everything that I’ve been dealing with had just kind of hit me at that moment. I shed some tears of joy.”
Giants fans may have been shedding a tear as well when Beckham’s clutch touchdown put their team in front. So how did the newcomer make such an impact under a coach like Tom Coughlin who is notorious for not giving rookies a lot of playing time?
“Coach told me, he said, ‘Don’t expect to play a lot early.’ I got in on the second series and I just try to fill that role and do the best of my ability.”
Coughlin was wise enough to not hold back Beckham for long. The athleticism and ball skills that the LSU alum presents make him a very useful player in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system. For a team that is built to win now, immediate dividends like the ones paid by Beckham on Sunday are always welcome.
“It kind of gave me chills just to have our fans behind me like that even after everything that’s happened and how long that I’ve been out,” he said, “It’s great to know that they support you.”