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Sterling Shepard: Odell Beckham's visit with Giants went well

12/3/2022 2:23:36 PM
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Odell Beckham Jr.’s ears must have been ringing right before Sterling Shepard’s phone buzzed. 

Only minutes after Shepard was finished getting interrogated by the media Friday on every aspect of Beckham’s two-day free-agent visit to the Giants, Shepard was on a FaceTime call at his locker with Beckham. When the conversation began to draw notice, Shepard walked off into a private area with a joke about eavesdroppers. 

Beckham had dinner Thursday with Giants head coach Brian Daboll and other members of the organization’s brass, went off-site to undergo a physical exam Friday morning and then returned to the facility at 3:45 p.m. for formal meetings. In his downtime, Beckham met up with Shepard and made plans to catch up with Saquon Barkley before leaving town to see the Bills, the second stop on a three-leg tour that eventually will end with the Cowboys. 

“He said the dinner went well and that was about the extent of that conversation,” Shepard said. “We were watching the [Bills-Patriots] game and one of the big things he was saying is he just wants to get back to balling,”  Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post reports.

First, team doctors need to get a look at Beckham’s twice-surgically repaired left knee (torn ACL). 

“Coming back from an ACL is not an easy thing,” said Barkley, who tore his in 2020. “It’s a long, hard road. If anyone I know has the right mindset and the right work ethic and the right people around him to push him to get back to the type of player we are used to seeing, it’s Odell. If he comes here, he has guys he knows are going to have his back.” 

There are a lot of reasons a Beckham-Giants reunion might not work: Limited salary-cap space in 2022 to meet his contract wishes, the possibility that the Giants might not make the playoffs, the allure of more explosive offenses and the relatively tight-lipped approach to recruiting a star who admittedly likes to “feel the love.” 

“We had a good visit,” Daboll said. “Other than that, I have nothing else to add. I’m focusing on [a game against] Washington.” 

But then there is the Shepard-Barkley factor. The opportunity to reunite with former teammates (and two of his best friends) for unfinished business with his original team (2014-18) that tugs at his heartstrings. 

“I think that has something to do with it, for sure,” Shepard. “But he has to do what’s best for him and his family. We all understand that.” 

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