Odell Beckham's cousin already impressing Jets coach at tryout
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Terron Beckham has bright blue hair, huge muscles and an even bigger NFL dream.
The colorful and confident cousin of Odell Beckham Jr. is getting an opportunity from the New York Jets to show he belongs here — even though he hasn't played in an organized football game since high school in 2010.
''I hope to show them that I'm a reliable back,'' said Beckham, a running back in rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. ''I can do it all as far as catching, running, be powerful, be explosive, use my strength. Everybody knows that I'm a strong guy.''
No doubt about it.
The 23-year-old Beckham is listed at 6-foot and a powerfully built 225 pounds. He became a bit of an internet sensation in recent months with his eye-popping workouts. Beckham has been a personal trainer and fitness model for the last few years, but had always had the desire to play in the NFL.
In April, he had an NFL combine-like pro day at TEST Sports Club in New Jersey. According to published reports, Beckham ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds, had a 44 1/2-inch vertical jump and bench-pressed 225 pounds 36 times in front of scouts from a handful of teams, including the Jets and Giants.
After the draft last weekend, the Jets called and offered him a chance to try out.
''I'd be a big fit,'' Beckham said. ''Matt Forte's here, but Chris Ivory just left (as a free agent), and I see myself as kind of that Chris Ivory-type of back, how he runs.''
That would be a physical, aggressive running back who routinely pounds defenders. At the very least, Beckham looks the part.
''I know everybody is waiting on me to get into pads and see what I can do and see if I can take a hit — which I believe I can, of course,'' Beckham said.
Jets coach Todd Bowles wasn't quite sure what to expect from Beckham.
''He's quicker than I thought he was,'' he said. ''He's quick, he studies and he's learning. I'll be interested to see what he does the next two days.''
Because of his chiseled physique, Beckham said he has faces questions ''all the time'' about whether he has done it without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs.
''That's something that's not new to me,'' he said. ''It's tough because I work so hard. I worked that hard all my life. And you can't just change people's minds. If they feel like, `What you look like or what you do, you can't do that without having whatever substances,' it's crazy. All I have to say is that I'm here, and they've done their tests or whatever. I'm cool. I've never had to do anything, and I'm fine.
''I have great genetics. I work hard. And that's all I have to say about that.''
He ran for over 1,300 yards at Fort Meade High School in Maryland as a senior after moving from the Dallas area, but garnered little interest from college programs. He eventually went to Stevenson University to join its newly formed Division III football program, but financial concerns forced him to leave school. He moved back to Texas and tried joining the teams at Navarro College and Tyler Junior College, but it didn't work out at either stop.
''The dream never left,'' he said. ''I just fell into these situations that kind of faded the dream away as time went on and I was still waiting for an opportunity to get back into it, which I am now.''
While his football dream was put on hold, his distant cousin became a big star at LSU and then a Pro Bowl sensation in the NFL with acrobatic and athletic catches for the Giants.
''He kind of reignited that, where it's, `All right, I need to change my training and make sure I'm focusing on my main goal,''' Terron Beckham said.
He hasn't been in much contact with Odell over the last few years, but Beckham has spoken often to Odell Sr., and the two cousins are trying to strengthen their family bond.
In the meantime, Terron Beckham knows he's facing long odds to join Odell in the NFL. He has to impress the Jets enough to have them — or another team — sign him to their roster, and have him participate in minicamp and then, if he sticks, in training camp during the summer.
''All I can say,'' Beckham said, ''is I'm here now.''
Oh, and that blue hair? It's not a tribute to the colors of the team his cousin plays for. Not even close.
Beckham dyed his hair because of ''Dragon Ball Z,'' the hit Japanese anime series which has some Super Saiyan God characters that recently changed from sporting yellow hair to blue.
''I'm an anime cartoon fan,'' Beckham said with a big smile, ''so I'm just kind of going off those traits. That's all. Just a simple thing for me.''