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Is Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. a distraction?

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo said it the other day. He used the word “distraction” when asked about wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.'s sideline antics.

“He needs to control his emotions better and become less of a distraction to himself and to his teammates,” the first-year head coach said on a conference call with reporters. “It’s our job to help him with that process and maturing.”

It was a comment that opened eyes. Beckham was seen fighting the kicking net and yelling on the sideline (at nobody in particular) early in the fourth quarter on Sunday against the Washington Redskins. He caught five passes for 77 yards in the fourth-quarter of that 29-27 loss.

So was it really distracting?

McAdoo had to talk with Beckham twice on the sideline during the contest to try to bottle his emotions. Quarterback Eli Manning was seen attempting to calm his volatile wide receiver after a fourth-quarter interception.

But most of Beckham’s teammates didn’t seem all that concerned. Several Giants said on Wednesday they didn’t pay much attention to the outburst or even know it happened until later. Even Manning didn’t consider it a “distraction” despite feeling the need to address the situation with his receiver during the contest.

Manning’s second fourth-quarter interception when the Giants had a chance to win the game in the final seconds had little to do with Beckham’s outburst.

“No. I don’t think it has reached that point [of being distracting],” Manning said. “We don’t want to create it. He’s an emotional player. He plays hard, he wants to win. He wants to go out there.

“There are times where guys can get fired up on the sidelines when stuff happens. It’s all, hey, can we get back poise, go out there, produce and make the plays. Again, I’m not worried about it. I think he’s making plays and doing a lot of good things. He’ll continue to do that.”

That’s where the Giants' concern seem to lie. They’re worried about Beckham keeping his emotions in check so he can do what he does best – make plays on the field.

“At the end of the day, we need [No.] 13 on the field to perform,” veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “Can we step in to calm him down? I think we can do that more as a team to step toward him and try to control that. But, for the most part, I don’t think it’s a problem. That’s that fire. Everybody needs that fire.”

More than anything, the Giants seem to be protecting against situations such as last year, when Beckham was taken out of his game by then-Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman. It remains the only game of Beckham’s career that he dropped multiple passes. It also resulted in a one-game suspension.

The Giants were blown out without Beckham the following week in Minnesota. The Giants return to Minnesota this week for a Monday matchup with the Vikings, only this time with Beckham, who isn't about to make any major changes by toning down the emotion.

"Nah, I’m not really … I’m in a great place right now. Mentally, physically, spiritually there is not really much that bothers me at all, to be honest," Beckham said. "So I’m going to go out and play football the only way I’ve ever know how to play, try my best to be the best teammate you possibly can. At the end of the day, you play for the guys that wear the jersey. They’re the ones who take the field with you, who you share the blood, sweat and tears with. I’m just going to go out and be who I am."

When asked about McAdoo's comments, Beckham took the high road.

"He said, she said," he responded. "I’m not really concerned about anything but the Minnesota Vikings."

McAdoo believes it’s up to the entire team to make sure Beckham doesn’t cross the line from emotionally effective to out of control. Rodgers-Cromartie does his part. He serves as a trusted sounding board for the young wide receiver.

Beckham spoke to him about the most recent situation on Wednesday. Rodgers-Cromartie told Beckham he “understands” what needs to be done. Beckham needs to learn how to temper his frustrations, because other players are looking at him as one of their emotional leaders.

“I told him to continue to be you. Never lose that fire,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “But on the sideline there are a bunch of guys and they’re already down and, if a guy looks at you the way we look at you as a leader, keep it in control until we get to the locker room. Throw your helmet all across the locker room so nobody can see. That’s fine. In an atmosphere like [the sideline during a game], keep your cool.”

Because the Giants need their star wide receiver. Not a distraction.