In the past, Cris Carter has more than had Odell Beckham Jr.’s back. But not this time.
In the wake of a video that showed Beckham in bed with a woman holding a credit card near what appeared to be small piles of white powder, Carter called the wide receiver a “little boy” who was engaging in “stupidness.”
“I’m so disappointed in him,” Carter said of Beckham Monday on FS1’s “First Things First,” speaking with co-analyst Nick Wright and host Jenna Wolfe. “I’m so disappointed, and I expect better from him. It’s enough of the excuses. Time for you to grow up, and stop being a little boy.
“If you want to be a national brand, damn act like it. If you want someone to pay you — the highest paid receiver in the history of the game — damn act like it.”
Beckham, who became one of the NFL’s most marketable players while putting up huge numbers in his first three seasons with the Giants, is heading into the fifth and final year of his rookie deal. He said in July that he wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL, “period,” but a severe ankle injury in October altered Beckham’s trajectory, and while he would still be in line for a major contract if he shows his old form, the recent video may have clouded his future with the Giants.
While the team has declined to comment on the video, Carter said Monday, “Enough is enough. I’m sick of talking about him and the negative aspects. I can’t talk about his releases, I can’t talk about him catching the ball in traffic. Why? Because of this.
“And this matters. Your image in sports will always matter. And you are in sports, you’re not some rapper.”
Carter’s words matter more than most, in part because of his experience as a highly talented wide receiver who nearly derailed a Hall of Fame career with alcohol and drug abuse. Carter also put himself firmly in Beckham’s camp last May, when he personally trained the wide receiver while the New York star was deliberately skipping an offseason training activities session with his team.
“Odell is going to grow up,” Carter said at the time. “That why’s he is bringing other people in his life so he can grow up. If he wasn’t trying to grow up, he wouldn’t be calling Cris Carter. He’s getting people to tell him all the right stuff. He wants to be better. Not only as a player, but emotionally, as a son, friend and teammate. He’s in the process of doing that.”
On his FS1 show this week, though, Carter told Beckham, “You are in the National Football League. You are under contract with the New York Football Giants. Act like it matters. Because they’ve had other Giants players, along their career, it didn’t matter to them. And it affected their arc, as far as how great we consider them to be.”
Appearing to refer to Lawrence Taylor, who has battled drug addiction, Carter said, “The greatest Giant ever struggled off the field. Until this day, he still does not have his life under control.
“To see another great athlete, and to see that happen to them, I will not sit here and act like this is normal. No, it’s not normal.”
A Pro Bowler in each of his first three seasons, Beckham figures to be in line for a contract that could top the one recently agreed to by wide receiver Mike Evans with the Buccaneers. Evans, who went seventh in the 2014 draft while Beckham went 12th, is reportedly set to make $82.5 million over five years, with $55 million guaranteed. That would give Evans the second-highest average annual salary, $16.5 million, among NFL wide receivers, just behind the Steelers’ Antonio Brown ($17 million), and it gives Beckham a number off which to base negotiations.
In addition to health, though, the Giants will likely want to see some maturation from the 25-year-old receiver, both during games and at other times. Beckham has lost his composure with opponents, and he drew widespread criticism for having a poor outing in a 2017 playoff loss to the Packers less than a week after being spotted partying with teammates in Miami. Before he broke his ankle in a Week 5 game last season, Beckham was chastised by Giants owner John Mara for celebrating a touchdown against the Eagles by pretending to be a dog urinating in the end zone at Philadelphia’s stadium.
“This guy is an unbelievable talent, as talented as anyone that I have ever seen,” Carter said Monday. “So I’m disgusted with the whole thing. OBJ? Call me, man. Enough of this stupidness.”
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