EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Odell Beckham Jr. is very aware that quarterbacks get the biggest bucks in the NFL. And that NBA players, even those who sit on the bench nearly all the time, have fully guaranteed contracts.
He also firmly covets being pro football’s highest-paid player, as he proclaimed in a recent online video .
That doesn’t mean the star receiver isn’t going to show up when it’s mandatory, and try his hardest in practices and games.
“I am not here to hold out,” he said Friday at the Giants’ first workout of training camp. “I am here to practice. I am here to get better each and every day. I feel I have stuff I can improve on, stuff I need to work on, and really, stuff I am willing to work on.
“I am 24 years old. I’m trying to play football until I can’t play football any more. I can’t get caught up taking days off and not playing.”
Heading into the fourth season of his rookie contact, he will earn just under $1.84 million, not even close to the $17 million yearly average pulled in by Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown. He is due for a major raise and likely will get one in the next year.
“He deserves to get paid,” Giants owner John Mara said. “We’re going to pay him. It’s just a question of when we enter into the contract. I don’t have a timetable on it right now. I just don’t feel like there is any need to rush into it. But he is going to end up getting paid.”
Still, dropping a video that went viral days before the Giants began camp created headlines. Beckham recognizes the distraction for the team he can create by any public stances about the money he makes.
He doesn’t seem worried.
“I don’t regret anything ever in life,” he said. “One quote I always read was: ‘Never regret anything because at one point in time that was exactly what you wanted.’ Never any regrets for me.
“I think everyone in the locker room knows, I don’t think there is any missing information between me and the team, we all know what is going on. If I talk, it’s a distraction. If I don’t talk, it’s a distraction. What am I supposed to do?
“So I am going to speak my mind, I am going to answer pretty much whatever you have to ask and that’s just it. Everyone in that locker room knows what is going on, they know why I am here. It is nothing but love. I have nothing but love for them. I have their back and it’s the same way around. There is nothing that can get between me and my team.”
Perhaps. But Beckham was told by management in his exit interview last January after a playoff loss to Green Bay that he needed to grow up. He’s been suspended for a game for on-field actions in a feud with cornerback Josh Norman that bordered on vicious. He’s often appeared more concerned with his numbers than the team’s.
But he’s also a game breaker, the kind of player who makes the spectacular seem routine. His one-handed catch against Dallas in 2014 remains one of the NFL’s most-viewed highlights. It’s one of many Beckham has contributed on an offense in which he at times has been the only threat.
A player of Beckham’s production in the NBA would have a much bigger bank account. A scrub in pro basketball also might. That rankles the receiver.
“What you want to do is change the game,” he claimed. “This isn’t for me, Odell Beckham. It’s for everyone in the league, people who deserve it.
“You sit there and you watch the NBA and it’s crazy. Being realistic, it’s crazy what they are getting (paid), and there are people in the NFL who deserve that. I want to be in the forefront for it and help push the league and the game that way because I feel like the players deserve it, and I feel like we go through a lot. We go through a lot mentally, physically and emotionally, and they just deserve it. The players in the league work hard for it. It’s not for me.”
As for the top salary in the NFL going to anyone but the guys who throw passes, well, Mara is skeptical that such a person exists.
“I can’t think of one,” he said. “The quarterback is all we have had be the highest-paid player.”
AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.
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Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is giving fans a glimpse of her goofy side in a video that shows her coming out of an anesthetic haze after surgery to have her wisdom teeth removed.
Biles posted the video on Twitter on Thursday. She appears on a recovery room bed with gauze in her mouth, yelling something incomprehensible and pretending to drive a car. Biles says she hopes the 27-second clip makes people laugh.
The 20-year-old Biles says the full video is 14 minutes long. She says, “Other parts are hilarious too!”
Biles won four gold medals and a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
MIAMI (AP) — Florida wildlife officials say they’ve identified the men dragging a shark behind a speeding boat in a video that went viral on several social media sites.
Rob Klepper is a spokesman for the law enforcement division of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He said Wednesday that authorities have identified the men, but won’t release their names until an investigation is complete.
Klepper said it wasn’t clear whether the men broke any laws, or if the shark was alive when it was being dragged. But he said wildlife officials found the video “disheartening and disturbing.” The video shows the shark twisting in the air and slamming against the water.
The video gained attention after Miami sport fisherman Mark “Mark the Shark” Quartiano reposted it on his Instagram page , adding the hashtags #sowrong and #notcool.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Authorities are hoping surveillance video identifies whoever broke the hands off a granite statue of Jesus on the campus of a Catholic university in Pittsburgh.
Carlow University officials announced the vandalism on Wednesday but said it was unclear exactly when it occurred. Police, so far, have been unable to pinpoint a time by examining surveillance video from the area.
Carlow spokesman Drew Wilson says officials believe it’s a case of “juvenile vandalism … with no ulterior motives” — though that can’t be known for sure.
The statue shows Jesus with his hands raised toward the sky. It once belonged to neighboring St. Agnes Church, which was built in 1917.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia says woman detained after wearing miniskirt in viral video has been released without charge.