Odell Beckham Junior had himself a day yesterday, didn’t he? Started it out by posting a video of himself appearing to stare directly at the solar eclipse with the caption: “Mannn y’all trippin, where the eclipse at? Me n Brad Wing can’t find it no where!” And in the video, he’s blinking, squinting and rubbing his eyes.
And if the possibility of permanent vision loss to OBJ wasn’t enough to give Giants fans a collective heart attack, then what happened in last night’s game was. Early in the second quarter against the Browns, Beckham elevated to catch an Eli Manning pass and was cut down by Cleveland corner Briean Boddy-Calhoun.
It didn’t look good in the moment and it looked even worse when Beckham was slow to get up, spun the ball, ripped off his helmet and walked off the field. And worse still when he collapsed to his knees in the tunnel on the way back to the locker room.
And that point, Giants fans were freaking out and reaching for the bleach cocktails, because if there’s no Beckham, there’s no season. And yes, I know that Beckham has a reputation for being a little dramatic, but admit it, even if you weren’t a Giants fan, you were a little worried when you saw him face down in the tunnel. Turns out it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked. X-rays were negative, and it’s been ruled a sprained ankle.
But that didn’t stop Giants fans from losing their minds on twitter, insisting it was an illegal hit, a dirty hit and this is why you don’t play your starters in the second quarter of a preseason game. Let’s take it from the top. It wasn’t illegal. It was perfectly legal, but it was nasty. Now, was it dirty? It depends on who you’re asking. But, If you can’t go high and you can’t go low, there aren’t too many other places to go.
Beckham said it was “just football,” but Giants safety Landon Collins disagreed and told Boddy-Calhoun as much: “I said he was wrong for what he did. He said, ‘It is what it is.’ I’m gonna say it just like this, I couldn’t have a teammate next to me playing that way. I can’t condone it. It’s nothing I seek. He had the opportunity to go out and make a different route. That’s how I feel about it. … It’s not a penalty, but everybody knows, that’s something you don’t do.”
I see where Collins is coming from and that means a lot, coming from one of the best safeties in the game. And if I were him and I just saw my teammate nearly get destroyed and my Super Bowl hopes with it, I’d be saying the same thing. But I’m not so sure that it’s dirty. To me, dirty means intent to injure and I’m not sure that Boddy-Calhoun had intent to injure. He went low, but part of that is because Beckham went high and the two of them met in a really bad spot for Beckham.
There’s also the preseason component of this. If this was a regular season game or a playoff game, would anyone think that was a dirty hit? Probably not. But because it’s preseason, it looks bad. And I get that, but preseason football is still football. And as big of a joke as preseason is now, it would be an even bigger joke if guys were running around in red jerseys. Your star players have to take a hit or two. I’m not saying you want to play them all four quarters, but you can’t NOT play them. They do need some reps. Even SOME hits. It’s a dangerous game. It sucks when you lose a star receiver in August, just like the Packers did Jordy Nelson or the Panthers and Kelvin Benjamin two years ago. But when you step on a football field, bad things can happen. Everyone knows that. Even guys who stare at the eclipse.