UNION, N.J. — When New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham worked on full-speed routes last month at mandatory minicamp, Manning came away impressed. He thought Beckham looked like his “old self” during some throwing sessions between the two.
Beckham broke his ankle last October in a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He has been rehabbing ever since. Minicamp was his first opportunity to run routes at full speed and catch passes from his quarterback.
“Odell looked healthy,” Manning said during an appearance at an Offense-Defense Football Camp at Kean University. “He was running routes full speed, making cuts and seemed to be his old self. So I’m excited about that and that he can go out there and run all the routes.
“So, excited to get him back going once training camp hits up. And getting on the same page, there are always new routes and new tweaks to the offense. But I know he’s been working hard and is going to have a big year.”
Beckham averaged over 90 catches, 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three professional seasons. He was limited to 25 catches for 302 yards and 3 touchdowns in an injury-shortened 2017.
Beckham’s been training this summer in California. He was working alongside teammates Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley at times last week. Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens also attended at least one workout.
“Yeah, I’ve seen a couple videos,” Manning said. “Those guys always work. Appreciate the work. Getting ready for the upcoming season. I know they’ll have to make some adjustments. We do practice with our shirts on with the Giants. So they’ll have to make an adjustment the first few weeks. It may take some time to get used to that. But besides that I know those guys, it’s great that they are together. They are challenging each other. They’re getting ready for the upcoming season.
Manning has remained in touch with his receivers throughout the summer. He’s texted with them and is confident they’re working hard and in shape for an important summer.
The Giants are coming off a 3-13 season. Veterans are set to report to training camp on July 25.
Beckham is expected to attend despite a desire for a new contract.
“Yes, sir. Yes, you will,” Beckham responded after being asked if we would see him at camp last month. “No holdout.”
Manning knows the difference his top receiver can make. The Giants offense averaged 13.6 points last season when Beckham was either limited or did not play.
All signs, at least health-wise, are pointing to him returning to his previous form this season.
“Obviously he’s a tremendous player and can be a game-changer, make big plays in critical moments. Get you key first downs and turn simple plays into touchdowns,” Manning said Tuesday. “We need him healthy with all the other guys.”