CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Odell Beckham Jr. said he spoke with his New York Giants teammates hours before Sunday’s 33-31 loss to the Carolina Panthers to clear the air over comments he made last week.
Beckham had talked about quarterback Eli Manning and why the team isn’t throwing the ball farther downfield and playing with more energy. He said after the game that “sometimes stuff comes off the wrong way” and that “words can be portrayed in any kind of light.”
But the 25-year-old receiver was quick to add he doesn’t regret anything he said.
“It took that for us to come together as a team like we did today, I can take that every single time,” Beckham said.
The Giants lost on a 63-yard field goal by Carolina’s Graham Gano with 1 second remaining after battling back to erase an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit.
When asked last week if there was an issue at quarterback, Beckham told ESPN, “I don’t know. 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?”
He also said, “How come we can’t throw the ball for more than 20 yards? How come we don’t attempt or try to throw the ball for more than 20 yards? Those are questions that we have to figure out, but for now I would say it’s our heart, it’s our energy.”
Beckham had easily his best game of the season Sunday with eight catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. He also threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to running back Saquon Barkley after receiving a lateral from Manning.
The Giants had completed only two passes of 30 yards or more this season entering Sunday, and they have only nine passes of 20 yards or greater. They had six pass plays of longer than 20 yards against the Panthers, including Beckham’s 33-yard touchdown catch from Manning.
Beckham said he texted coach Pat Shurmur to ask if he could address his teammates.
“It had been on my heart since the Dallas game, honestly,” Beckham said. “All the stuff that had built up inside, it came out in the wrong way. … If we’re not all on the same page, if it’s not all authentic and real, and if we can’t understand each other, there will always be miscommunication.”
Manning downplayed Beckham’s comments after the game, saying he and Beckham “have a great relationship” and “our mindset will be everybody stay focused on beating Philadelphia (on Thursday night).”
Shurmur said he addressed the issue with Beckham and the team — and made it clear he wants to get past it all.
“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,” Shurmur said. “Now, I’m not going to give the public a pound of flesh on this, all right? That would make me small, not strong. And 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.”
Shurmur added that he is “done” addressing the issue, saying “let’s talk football, not drama.”
Beckham said he felt the need to speak up last week because he’s trying to be a leader.
“I’m in a position I’ve never been in,” Beckham said. “I’m trying to grow, I’m learning on the way, on the fly, but I’m proud of where we went today. … We kept fighting, kept fighting, and kept fighting. That’s all I could ask for.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)