For the better part of Odell Beckham Jr.’s young career, he was viewed as a distraction for the New York Giants, and understandably so.
From his on-his field altercations with Josh Norman to his proposal to a kicking net, and from a very questionable Instagram video to an unacceptable ESPN interview, Beckham brought a lot of baggage.
But that’s not the way Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald sees it.
Speaking to reporters at the NFL Annual Meeting in Arizona, Fitzgerald expressed his shock at the Beckham trade, but suggests it’s a positive thing for OBJ, who had too many distractions in New York.
“I don’t think I saw it coming,” Fitzgerald told Cleveland.com. “You heard the rumors swirling, but a player that’s that talented, I mean, he’s one of the best the game has seen what he’s done thus far in his career, and to think about him not wearing a Giants uniform is different.
“But I think it can be great for him, getting to a smaller city where there’s just not as many distractions, he can focus on ball and really let his talents do the speaking for him. He’s with that group with (Jarvis) Landry, again they went to college together, so that could be a great, great combination with a rising quarterback (in Baker Mayfield) as well.”
While addressing reporters himself over the weekend, Giants co-owner John Mara offered a polar opposite take, acknowledging that Beckham brought a lot of distractions to the team, although he cautioned that they were not “unmanageable.”
“Honestly, there were times where it did bother me and I had conversations with him about it,” Mara said. “It never got to the point where we said to Dave , ‘You’ve got to get rid of this guy. Is it a factor in the final decision? Yeah, it’s a factor.
“The thing about him, though, is he’s a good guy. He did a lot of good things with us. He was terrific with the Make-A-Wish kids we brought into the facility every week. It wasn’t like we were getting rid of a criminal. There were some extra issues he brought into the building, but it wasn’t unmanageable.”
Whether New York was a distraction for Beckham or visa versa, it’s all over with now. We’ll find out in short order if Beckham is the true lightning rod or if he brings these things upon himself.