On Monday, July 26th, Odell Beckham Jr. held his first ever Citi ProCamp in Boonton, New Jersey and I got a chance to chop it up with New York Giants superstar. The word superstar is beginning to seem disrespectful at this point when it comes to this guy. I mean he couldn’t even host a youth camp without winding up on ESPN and all over Twitter with another viral video. The ESPN notification hit my phone literally five minutes after I watched him do this. Where Odell goes, people (and absurd one-handed grabs) seem to follow.
One of the main things that seemed to resonate with the media, parents, and campers was that Odell is just a big kid at heart. Constantly dancing and jogging about, he seemed to have more fun than anyone else on the field. Realistically, he is still a kid. Just 10 years ago he would’ve been able to attend this very camp.
Another amazing observation I made was that OBJ made his best efforts to individually communicate with all 250 campers in attendance. He obviously couldn’t give every kid the attention they wished, but he clearly made it a priority to show his appreciation to everyone who came out.
Beckham Jr: “Obviously, this is what it’s all about. Inspire these guys. Seeing them out here dancing, having a lot of fun, catching passes…with two hands. A lot of them are out here just trying to do the catch, but obviously it’s been a lot of fun.”
Another unbelievable sign that Beckham has truly broke barriers before his third season was the great lengths kids were coming from just to be a part of this day. A family from Minnesota and another from Arizona came all the way to New Jersey to spend a few hours with Beckham. I asked Odell how hearing that people were traveling cross-country to attend his football camp made him feel.
Beckham Jr: “Crazy. That’s just crazy to me. You know they came out here for a day. I was watching him run routes earlier, and I didn’t know he was the one from Minnesota, but I saw him and at the end I ended up telling him to just keep practicing. He obviously had something. He came all the way from Minnesota just to be here and that’s pretty special to me. That really does mean a lot to me and I’m thankful for that.”
Don’t let his nice talk fool you, Odell wasn’t all fun and games. His competitive nature that has made him one of the most feared players in the league shined through at the ProCamp as well. During the session where he made that highlight reel catch, he also proceeded to go 5-5 against the campers as a receiver. He then switched to corner for a rep where he defended the pass which you can watch here. Additionally, he turned it loose a few days before training camp, showing off the jets against a few lucky campers. During these races between various age brackets, Odell was seen consoling a young boy who seemed upset.
Beckham Jr: “Yeah, he was upset because he lost the race to another kid. I told him, I know how you feel. I hate losing. But you have to let them know, they have to understand, it’s going to be okay. The losses kind of make you who you are. It’s what builds you up. Just letting them know it’s going to be alright. You’re going to have plenty more losses coming ahead, and you’re going to have plenty more wins, it’s about learning how to balance those ups and downs.”
It’s incredible to see the type of person Beckham has become in such a short period of time. As a 23-year old with the weight of the world on his shoulders, he came off as nothing less than a true professional and an absolute class act. The good news for Giants fans is that he seems intent on being a key cog in the community for the long-term. When asked what made Beckham decide on this particular location for this camp, he responded with the following.
Beckham Jr: “I wanted to do one back home as well (Louisiana), but since this was my first one and New York is going to be my home for a long time, I felt like I might as well start here. I’m looking forward to doing many more.”
That is music to Big Blue Nation’s ears. The Giants obviously don’t envision #13 in any color besides blue, and from the sound of it neither does he. Look for both sides to begin the extension talks following the 2016-17 season.
All in all it was an extremely positive day for the entire New York and New Jersey Metropolitan Area. Odell Beckham Jr. truly is a mega-star who is going to be a key contributor to this city for a very long time. We are not only happy to have him in our locker room, but we are ecstatic to have him as a member of our community. We look forward to another All-Pro year from the sensational talent and person known as OBJ.
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