ORLANDO - The Giants sure have seemed to open their door to a possible Odell Beckham Jr. trade this week, and new coach Pat Shurmur didn't exactly slam it shut on Tuesday morning. But he did make one thing about his star receiver perfectly clear:
He expects him to be at the Meadowlands in 13 days when the Giants' offseason program begins.
That would be a surprise, given Beckham's past history of skipping the team's offseason program, and the recent report that he's planning a holdout if he doesn't get his contract extension. But Shurmur spent some time with Beckham out in California last week, and came away with an "understanding" that Beckham will be there on April 9 when the program begins.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him when we get going," Shurmur said.
Of course, whether he actually shows - and whether it's a guest appearance, or a longer commitment - remains to be seen. In the past, Beckham has preferred to train on his own in the Los Angeles area, which is where he's been rehabbing his surgically repaired ankle for most of the offseason. It would be a huge statement by him, and a sign of commitment to the Giants, even if he showed up for just a few days, given all the wild speculation about his future over the last few days.
That speculation isn't likely to go away any time soon, even though a team source told SNY that trading Beckham is "highly unlikely," and that there have been "zero, nada, zilch" trade talks so far. That's because nobody in the organization has been able to fully commit to Beckham being on the team in 2018. John Mara said he couldn't answer that question, and the Giants' other co-owner, Steve Tisch, only said he was "hopeful" Beckham would be on the team.
As for Shurmur, he was much more convincing about Beckham being in the building on April 9 for the start of the offseason program than he was about Beckham being on the team on Opening Day.
"Certainly I expect the players that are on our roster to be here," Shurmur said. "But as ownership has talked about, we were 3-13 a year ago so we're making changes to the roster, trying to improve ourselves and this is the time of year to do it."
Still, Shurmur did seem to be working on the premise that he will have his star receiver on the roster. That's part of why he met with Beckham when the coach was out in California for the Pro Days of USC quarterback Sam Darnold and UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen. Shurmur knows all about the baggage that comes along with Beckham, and the controversies he's been involved in.
But before making any big judgements, he seems determined to get to know Beckham for himself.
"It was a good visit," Shurmur said. "We just got a chance to get to know one another. He's a very charismatic guy. I think he really cares. And I'm looking forward to working with him."
Shurmur didn't give the details of their conversation, but it's a good bet that Beckham's latest controversy came up - the one where he appears in a video, in bed with a model, a pepperoni pizza, and what looks to be drugs. That video hasn't gone over well with many in the Giants' organization. And Shurmur indicated that's another example of things he'd prefer his players don't do.
"First of all, I think it's important that you get all the information. Who knows how that video appeared?" he said. "But certainly we all understand there are certain ways that we need to act, and certain things that we don't want to be doing. So that's that, really."
More concerning to the Giants than the video is Beckham's recovery from ankle surgery. And the good news is, Shurmur said his receiver's recovery is going well. He wouldn't say when Beckham would be able to get back on the field. He wouldn't even commit to him being ready for the start of training camp in July.
But he's convinced that, at the very least, Beckham will be Beckham again by Opening Day.
"I think he's on track coming back from his injury," Shurmur said. "All reports are he'll be ready to go at some point here. There's steps he's got to take, but all indications are he'll be back healthy by the time we start playing in September."
The only question left is whether he'll be playing with Shurmur's team or somewhere else.