Former Giants running back Tiki Barber was both complimentary and critical of New York receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during Friday's edition of Barber’s CBS Sports radio show Tiki and Tierney.
Beckham lost his mind during the Giants' loss to Josh Norman and the Redskins Sunday. It was bad enough that the team's head coach Ben McAdoo came out and said Beckham “needs to control his emotions better and become less of a distraction to himself and to his teammates.”
Asked about McAdoo’s comments, Beckham pretty much avoided the question and said he’s “going to be who I am.”
Barber, who played for the Giants for his entire 19-year career, said Beckham is talented but is “a look-at-me player.”
“What I want for Odell is to take that emotion and channel it into something positive. I know it’s hard because he’s not a running back where if you get upset emotionally, you go pound somebody [you’re blocking] or you stick it to a defender. But how many targets does he get in a game? Ten? And you run 60 plays? So there’s a large portion of the game where you’re just not relevant to the outcome. But I would love to see him find a way to channel it into something positive, even if it’s just yelling to encourage his teammates. Don’t go off by yourself.
“He’s a look-at-me player. If he’s balling, nobody cares. But as soon as you start losing, as soon as you start drifting a little bit—and it feels like the Giants are vulnerable to a little bit of drift right now—they have to lock it in. Ben McAdoo and Mike Sullivan, the offensive coordinator, they got to lock him in. They can’t allow him to just get up and say, ‘I’m going to be who I am. I’m going to do what I want to do.’ No, you’re part of a team, buddy. You’re a good player. You’re a great player. People love you because of who you are and how you behave and how you act and the touchdowns and the celebrations. But you’re part of a team. And if you don’t recognize that, then somewhere down the line, you will not be part of the team.”
Woo, boy. That’s a big, multifaceted opinion. Beckham has had a ton of success throughout his career—Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2014, second-team All-Pro in 2015—and he’s a fan-favorite not just because of his ability, but also his personality.
Yes, he’s emotional. He’s also a showoff. You could say that makes him a “look-at-me player.” We’ve seen many such wide receivers in the past—think of Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson. The position seems to breed a certain personality type.
Owens and Johnson were both dominant players throughout their careers, though, and at least one is a surefire Hall of Famer. Beckham is on pace to accomplish similar feats.
Whether Tiki Barber likes who Odell Beckham Jr. is or not, it’s gotten Odell to where he is today. And that’s a pretty good place.