Odell Beckham, Jr. may have skipped Eli Manning's annual minicamp at Duke University, but the Giants quarterback still managed to draw quite a crowd.
Receivers Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Tavarres King, and Roger Lewis were all in Durham, N.C., this week - as several of them documented on Instagram -- as Manning held his traditional offseason retreat and a few days of workouts and drills. They were joined, based on the photos they shared, by tight ends Will Tye, Jerell Adams, and Rhett Ellison, along with quarterback Josh Johnson and running back Shaun Draughn.
Beckham, though, was a notable absence. On Monday night, while he was watching the NCAA men's basketball championship in Glendale, Ariz., he told Newsday he wouldn't be able to make it because he was scheduled to have oral surgery. Beckham did not go into any further details - and he declined to answer football questions, according to the report - but he did say he expects to be ready when the Giants' offseason workout program begins on April 18.
Manning began what has become an annual Duke retreat since 2011, when he started the tradition during the NFL lockout. After holding informal workouts that summer, first at Hoboken (N.J.) High School and later at Bergen Cathlolic High School (in Oradell, N.J.), Manning invited receivers Hakeem Nicks and Jerrel Jernigan to join him at Duke for more workouts under the watchful eye of Duke coach David Cutcliffe - who was Eli's coach at Ole Miss, and Peyton Manning's offensive coordinator at Tennessee.
The next offseason, Peyton spent time with Cutcliffe working out while he was recovering from multiple neck surgeries. And then, beginning in 2013, the brothers decided to work out together, each bringing several of their receivers from the Giants and Broncos along for the fun. Eli even continued the workouts after Peyton retired following the 2015 season.
This year's workouts were scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning, according to a source, and will only last a couple of days. The players will get in two, 2 ½-hour practices per day and will have the use of Duke's football facilities and resources for conditioning and rehab, if needed. They'll also have time to watch film.
"The benefits for them are great as they come in here and get a great, private opportunity to work," Cutcliffe told the Durham Herald-Sun last week. "What those guys are doing is creating the proper chemistry and the proper timing to get more prepared for (organized team activities). We work on all types of throws in all areas of the field."
Manning is due back in New York on Thursday evening for the National Football Foundation's "Elite Eleven" Scholar-Athlete Award dinner, honoring some of the top student-athletes/football players in New York City. Manning will receive the Ernie Accorsi Humanitarian Award for his contributions to the game of football and his community.