New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. addressed fans directly in an open letter posted Tuesday on his official website. In the letter, he discussed the 2015 season and how he can get better.
Beckham began by thanking Giants Nation "for all [its] support" during the season and expressed his regret the team ultimately fell short of making the postseason, followed by a brief statement about things he needs to do:
This year has been a rollercoaster and I still have some more growing and learning to do. To be in company with Randy Moss, I can’t ask for much more. I’ve looked up to him my whole life and to do some of the things I’ve done with this team, it’s something special. I will continue to play my heart out and put my best foot forward.
The comment about having "growing and learning to do" is going to stand out because of the incident involving Beckham in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers.
Beckham earned a one-game suspension following the Giants' 38-35 loss for what the NFL deemed "multiple violations of safety-related playing rules," per NFL.com's Marc Sessler. The key play from that game saw New York's star wideout launch himself directly into Panthers cornerback Josh Norman.
Now-former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said after the game the team was not going to tolerate those kinds of actions while also defending Beckham's character, per Conor Orr of NFL.com:
He is an emotional young man. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and I will not defend his actions yesterday because they were wrong. This particular franchise and organization does not tolerate that. So I would not do that. But I will defend the young man and the quality of the person. I will defend him as long as I'm able and I told our team that. Our team feels the same way.
Beckham's actions led to many questions about his maturity level, with Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post saying the second-year star was at risk of becoming another cautionary tale in Giants lore after Jeremy Shockey.
Concluding the letter, Beckham praised Coughlin for teaching him "how to be a man." It's easy to get lost in the poor way things ended for him this season, but he's also 23 years old.
It's not to say youth is an excuse, but people do learn about themselves and who they are in their 20s. Beckham is still becoming the person he will eventually be, so the fact he recognizes there is room to grow is a positive sign things will get better in 2016.