The Giants have said for years that they needed Odell Beckham Jr. to grow up and show some maturity.
Now it sounds like he'll have to do that for real if he wants to get paid.
That was the not-so-subtle message coming out of the Giants' introductory press conference for new coach Pat Shurmur on Friday. Shurmur had high praise for Beckham the player, of course, but also said he has a "zero tolerance" for players who, among other things "show a lack of respect."
He wasn't talking about Beckham specifically, but he was aware of the star receiver's previous issues, and promised the two of them would talk, so he could make sure Beckham understood what the Giants' "standards" would be from now on.
"This is sort of a clean-slate deal right now," Shurmur said. "We need to sit down and talk. When things happen there's typically reasons for it. I learned that by coaching the quarterback. With a quarterback you have to constantly keep saying to them ''What did you see? Why did you do that? Alright, let's talk about it.'
"And I think with all things Odell, we just need to start talking and find out why things happen. And if they're not what is by our standards, then we have to find a way to get it fixed."
That's been the stated goal of the Giants since Beckham's rookie year, when he began getting baited into penalties and near-fights on the field. Since then, though, the Giants approach to him has been a lot of talk and no action. They've stood by as Beckham has slammed kicking nets on the sideline, punched a hole in a wall after a playoff game, led a group of receivers to a party boat in Miami less than a week before that game, and embarrassed the franchise by celebrating a touchdown by pretending to pee like a dog.
None of that takes away from what a great player he is, and how much the Giants missed him after he injured his ankle last season. It also hasn't hampered their desire to sign him to a long-term contract that would keep him in New York for the rest of his career.
But with Beckham having already stated his desire to be the highest paid player - not just receiver - in the NFL, and with everyone knowing he's looking for more than a $100 million contract, the Giants don't have the same sense of urgency they once felt. They definitely want to see how he recovers from ankle surgery, according to team source. And now they are clearly watching his behavior, too.
"We will deal with that at the appropriate time," co-owner John Mara said on Friday. "That is not necessarily right now. I've said before many times that we want him to be a Giant. We will get something done at some point. I first want Pat to sit down with him and for them to have a good understanding of how we are going to act going forward. I have a lot of confidence that it will work out well, but we'll see."
Shurmur seemed to have confidence that it would work out, too. He was certainly hopeful, knowing how great a player Beckham is.
"He's a tremendous player," Shurmur said. "I went through the evaluation process - at the time I was in Philadelphia - and he was high on our draft board. We loved him as a player and really, pre-draft stuff, we loved everything about him. I've watched him play and compete and when you throw all the other stuff out and you watch him on the field, he's outstanding."
It's the "when you throw all the other stuff out" that's the problem with Beckham, because that other stuff always seems to have a way of creeping back in.
"I think what needs to happen now is I need to get to know him," Shurmur said. "I need to get to know what makes him tick. I need to talk to him about what it is that we're looking for from a guy that plays for the New York Giants. Those are the things that go back to relationship building that needs to happen very, very soon."