"My initial reaction was not disappointment. … I felt disrespected. Like, after everything I've done for them. This is me being honest: This team has not been good for the last six years. Period. Even the year we went to the playoffs and everyone was talking about this and that. And we went there, and I didn't have a great playoff game. Don't get me wrong, I had a terrible game. But I left the game with seven targets, and I'm supposed to be your number one receiver. I left the game with seven targets. We lost. They scored 40 points. It's just all bad.
"I felt disrespected, because I felt like I was a main reason at keeping that brand alive. They were getting prime-time games, still, as a 5-11 team. Why? Because people want to see the show. You want to see me play. That's just real rap. I'm not sitting here like, 'It's because of me.' But let's just be real. That's why we're still getting prime-time games. I felt disrespected they weren't even man enough to even sit me down to my face and tell me what's going on."
Beckham clarified his remarks to point the finger at Shurmur as the "reason" he's no longer with the franchise while expressing his admiration for Giants president and CEO John Mara:
"I'll forever have respect for Mr. Mara. Everything he's ever done for me, he's shown nothing but love. Even when we were having our talks, it was coming from a place of love. I could always feel it. So I'll forever have respect for him.
"But then to be called like that and then be texted by your coach and be like, 'Oh, yeah, I heard the news.' Yeah, you heard the news? It happened because of you. The reason I'm gone is because of you. It was just tough because of the way I initially felt. On the other side of it, I was excited about a new start because I had been—honestly, I had been praying to God the season before this season for a change."
Beckham played his first five seasons with the Giants, making three Pro Bowls and emerging as one of the NFL's best wideouts. He also became known for his at-times questionable behavior on the field, which included an on-field fight with Josh Norman and punching a kicking net, among other outbursts.
The final straw with the Giants may have been his public criticism of Eli Manning and the Giants offense last season. Beckham was particularly frustrated with the team's lack of downfield passing.
The Giants traded Beckham to Cleveland in March for Jabrill Peppers and a first- and third-round pick—not a huge haul for someone of OBJ's skill level. Beckham's arrival has played a large part in Cleveland's status as a rising power in the AFC, and the team is positioned to win its first division title since 1989.
For his part, Beckham has embraced Cleveland, but it's clear there are still some bitter feelings. The Giants traded him less than a year after inking him to a five-year, $95 million contract extension.
"Why did we even sign this contract? What did we sign this for? That's what I felt during the season," Beckham said. "Why did we do this deal to not feel long-term, because I don't feel like y'all are still wanting me to be here long-term during the season. I could feel it during the season. I would be up and down the sidelines saying that, like, 'Why did you sign me?' I could've just not did this at all."
The divorce here is better for both sides—even if Beckham and his former coach and GM won't be exchanging season's greetings.