The best player on the New York Giants' roster is Odell Beckham Jr. There's no doubt about that, and he might just be one of the five most talented players in all of football. Beckham has everything you want in a wide receiver: speed, good hands, leaping ability, position flexibility.
There's just one problem: He's immature.
Sure, there are hundreds of emotional players in the NFL. But there's a difference between being emotional and being immature. And that's the bridge Beckham has to cross.
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Giants GM Jerry Reese echoed as much on Monday when he spoke out on Beckham and his lack of maturity.
"I see a guy who needs to think about some of the things that he does," Reese said, via Newsday. "Everybody knows he's a gifted player. But there are some things that he's done and he needs to look himself in the mirror and be honest with himself about. I think he'll do that. We'll help him with that, but he has to help himself."
Of course, Reese is obviously referring to Beckham' impromptu and highly criticized trip to Miami with his fellow wide receivers. You know the story by now: They partied with Justin Bieber, hung out on a boat with Trey Songz. It's near-impossible to prove his day trip had an ill effect on his performance against the Packers on Sunday, but he brought the criticism upon himself.
He and his receivers knew that if they had a poor game -- which they very much did to the tune of several drops, three of them by Beckham -- they would never hear the end of it. And they probably won't, much like the way people still bring up Tony Romo and Jason Witten's trip to Cabo in 2007.
They've since grown up in a big way, and Reese thinks it's time for Beckham to do the same.
"He's a smart guy, but sometimes he doesn't do smart things," Reese said. "We all had to grow up at different times in our lives. I think it's time for him to do it now. He's been here three years now."
"He has a responsibility as a face of this franchise, and I think he'll accept that responsibility."
Reese is right: Beckham is the face of the franchise. It's not Eli Manning or Victor Cruz or Landon Collins. It's Beckham, and there's little doubt about that. From the jersey sales to kids dying the tops of their hair blonde to look like Beckham, all the signs are there.
He's always in the top 10 in merchandise sales despite being a polarizing figure. His play on the field make him incredibly likable and inspire young fans to make one-handed catches, but his antics make him harder to like. No player in the NFL has ever proposed to a kicking net, but Beckham has. He's not the only one to (allegedly) punch a hole in a wall, but it's also not a commonality.
Reese is absolutely right: Beckham needs to grow up. He's still young -- just 24 years old -- but he's also a three-year veteran. And he's been a star for two and a half of those. He has experience in the league despite being forced to grow up faster than most 24-year-olds.
There's nothing wrong with being a fiery player who plays with passion. There is a problem with being a distraction to your team by getting into fights on the field, crying on the sidelines and hugging kicking nets.
Based on the way he's started his career -- setting records and dominating opposing corners, mind you -- he's a future Hall of Famer. There's no doubt about that, as long as he stays on the right track. But it's time for him to grow up, and it couldn't come at a better time.