Odell Beckham finally spoke to the media on Saturday, taking questions (with the exception of a brief, two-question interview in June) for the first time in 10 months. So for the first time we gained insight into how he feels about his ankle, his contract, and those wild trade rumors from back in March.
Here are some of the biggest and most important quotes from the Giants' biggest and perhaps most important star:
On how his surgically repaired ankle feels: "I don't really feel it. I don't really feel it, I don't think about it much. Well, I try not to. It's still always there, but I'm getting back as close to 100 [percent] as I can for right now. So it's been a long process. I can say that."
Close to 100 percent is, of course, great news for Beckham and the Giants. He's certainly looked 100 percent during practice. He seems as fast and explosive as ever, and hasn't really been limited at all.
On when he finally felt like his old self: "It's kind of like over the last month I've taken a huge stride. I remember maybe two months ago, it wasn't as smooth and I wasn't getting out of cuts, and you kind of get that frustration and just you want to get back to where you were at."
It's interesting, because in the workout videos he posted on social media during the offseason, it never looked like Beckham was struggling. But as good as he looked, he didn't feel it. He apparently feels it now.
On why he didn't hold out: "I don't believe in any of that stuff. I feel like they'll get it done when they get it done. Let my agent and them figure it out. I just come out here, try and get all the plays down, focus on being the best that I can be. So, it'll happen when it happens."
In his brief interview with SNY back in June, Beckham promised "no holdout" and he was a man of his word, even though there were some in his camp who thought a holdout was the best strategy. Beckham is right, though. The Giants weren't going to cave to the pressure of a holdout. They were more likely to be receptive to his show of good faith -- which is exactly how it played out.
On if he believes a new contract will get done: "Yeah, I'm optimistic. I'm confident it'll all work itself out. Life always does."
He's right. It will get done. People on both sides continue to express an optimism that a deal will be struck by Opening Day. And if not then, not long after.
On if he feels like he's taking a risk by practicing without a new contract: "Calculated. You're out there, you control your body and we're practicing, these are your teammates and we're all working together. There's no extra pushing and shoving and doing too much, so it's all calculated."
I think the word he was looking for was actually "controlled". But you know what's not controlled? A preseason game. And it would be silly to risk Beckham in a preseason game. Don't expect that to happen. At least not much. Maybe he'll get a snap or two here or there, but nothing that would put him in any danger at all.
On his relationship with new Giants coach Pat Shurmur: "Coach Shurmur is great. When we first met in LA, we just sat down and talked football, and just to see his mentality and how he's going to run the ship -- it's just been phenomenal to come in here every day. It's like your back at the workplace and you love it, and he makes it fun for us. He's just doing a great job. He's got everybody doing what we're supposed to be doing."
The Beckham-Shurmur relationship is no joke and it's a big reason why this offseason didn't become ugly. While the business may have turned sour with no contract talks, lots of trade rumors, and Giants officials refusing to deny they might deal him, Shurmur stayed above the fray and in contact with his star receiver. He's been relentlessly positive in dealing with him, and flexible too (allowing him to skip much of the offseason program and not do team drills in mini-camp). There's a trust there, and that is huge.
On if he still wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL: "Of course, of course. I mean, who doesn't want to get more money? Everybody does. Realistically, you just got to be realistic with yourself."
He's right. We all want more money. But realistically he knows he won't become the NFL's highest-paid player. He's not likely to become his team's highest-paid player. He will become the NFL's highest-paid receiver and possibly the league's highest-paid non-quarterback. That will suffice.
On what he thought of the trade rumors from back in March: "I don't know. Noise? Rumors? You never know. I remember I used to say all the time, 'Don't take it personal' and stuff. But I still took things personal. And I really have gotten that out of my heart to not take anything personal. And with doing that, it's left things that I used to worry about out of the equation."
Though it turned out to be much ado about nothing, Beckham surely heard about how Giants brass refuse to commit to his place on the 2018 team and how they didn't hang up when the L.A. Rams called about him. But he also surely heard that the Giants never really intended to trade him. They were just fed up with his behavior and wanted to send a message. A year ago? The "noise" might have driven him to respond somehow. This time, Beckham displayed a remarkable maturity for him and stayed silent. In other words: Message received.