When New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham turned a December matchup against Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman into something you might see on WWE, his actions earned him a suspension from the league.
According to teammate and quarterback Eli Manning, Beckham’s demonstrations that day were not indicative of the player he has become.
“I think Odell has gotten better,” Manning said. “I think he learned you don't want to be that guy. Let your talent, let your play kind of do the speaking for you. I thought this year he was much better. I thought the Carolina game was the exception. He kind of reverted back to his old self.”
Beckham’s melee with Norman wasn’t his first run in with a player or players from another team. During his rookie season in 2014, Beckham was involved in a brawl during a late season game against the St. Louis Rams.
Manning thinks players should have fun out there, but he just thinks it should be limited to when they make a big play.
“I think there's a time — hey, you score a touchdown and you want to do a celebration or a dance — so be it. I'm OK with it,” Manning said. “I just think you need to make sure you're not insulting someone else or doing it to put someone down or after a catch or a first down not doing too much. I think there's a time and a place for it.”
Manning was of course asked about Cam Newton, and although Manning is not one to celebrate much on the field, he has no issues with what Newton or any quarterback does after a big play.
“It doesn't bother me,” Manning said of Newton's celebrations. “I could see why it may rub people the wrong way. It may rub other players around the NFL the wrong way for doing it. But hey, it's all within the rules. If you want to do a touchdown dance — I tell my receivers, as long as you're scoring and getting touchdowns I'm OK with the dances and I'd say the same thing to Cam. But be respectful, you don't want to cause a scene to where people are targeting you … or it might cause a distraction to the team.”
It may be taking Beckham a little longer than Manning to embrace the New York limelight, but having Eli on his side will help him evolve as a player both on and off the field.