Super Bowl LVI spotlight: Odell Beckham Jr.

(News4usonline) – The journey of Odell Beckham Jr. is one that reads almost like a fairytale if it didn’t mesh in reality. The Los Angeles Rams wide receiver burst on the NFL like a comet with immediate stardom.

Beckham’s instant success in the league has been followed by crushing injuries and trying to find a permanent home. The Rams are the third team that Beckham has played for in his career. The Rams faithful are probably hoping that Los Angeles is the last stand for the mercurial superstar.         

The former LSU standout made a splash on the NFL stage his rookie season when he went out and caught 91 passes for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns to solidify that he had arrived.

In case there were some haters around, Beckham proved that he was no one-year wonder by following up his rookie campaign with a sophomore splash of 96 catches and 1,450 yards receiving to go along with 13 scores.

Beckham had become that guy. Beckham wasn’t just great on the football field. He was a household name. He had box-office appeal. He was good-looking. He was personable. He also had this thing called the “it” factor going for himself. Folks began to refer to Beckham simply as “OBJ.” When people start referencing you in singular letters, you have real clout.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham (3) snags this touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals in an NFC Wild Card game played at SoFi Stadium on January 17, 2022. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline

Beckham had it and he knew it. NFL defenders had a difficult time trying to slow him down. With a third straight season of going over the 1,000-yard mark (101 receptions, 1,367 yards), Beckham continued wreaking havoc on NFL secondaries. But then life happened.

His 2017 season ended prematurely due to a leg injury (ankle) and subsequent surgery. Beckham, as a member of the New York Giants, was not deterred by the injury, Beckham came back in 2018 and produced another rock-solid season with 77 catches for 1,052 yards.

Beckham was back. And then he was not. The Giants traded Beckham to the Cleveland Browns. That marriage would last two and a half seasons before he was waived by the ballclub.

After his first season with the Browns, Beckham’s tenure in Cleveland was cut short by another devastating injury (ACL) and reportedly other stuff.

Since being with the Rams, Beckham has fit in nicely in the team’s offensive schemes and is now playing in Super Bowl (Super Bowl LVI). It has been a wild ride for Beckham, who is very appreciative of the moment.

“I know none of this would be possible without God,” Beckham said during a Super Bowl LVI virtual press conference. “That’s why I think I’m in a place where the energy has been lifted off of my shoulders, and I give it all to Him because without Him I wouldn’t be here at all. I’m just truly blessed and just so thankful that He’s put me here in this position to be able to share my testimony. Hopefully, it an inspire others who are going through a rough time, and it just doesn’t have to be football.”         

Now the statistics that Beckham for the Rams has put up are nowhere near the type of numbers he put up early in his career. But if there is any indication of what he can still do, Beckham was targeted 11 times in the Rams’ 20-17 win against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

The number of times that Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford looked and threw the ball his way against the 49ers was the highest number of times that Beckham had been thrown to all season. He finished the game with nine catches for 113 yards.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) doing work against a Jacksonville Jaguars defender during an NFL football game played at SoFi Stadium on December 5, 2021. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline

Beckham said with he and Stafford being on the same page as well as the defensive scheme that San Francisco played in, the scenario in the NFC title game created room for him to make more plays.  

“I think it could be a combination of both, definitely [with] trust being built up, and just the way the 49ers played it,” said Beckham. “There were just a little more opportunities here and there. Just want to make the most of them. That’s always going to be my goal, to make the most out of each and every opportunity.”

With the way Stafford and Beckham connected against San Francisco, it felt like the two players had finally solidified the trust angle to their working relationship. For Beckham, it’s about taking advantage of the opportunities he’s been presented with.   

“As far as the trust with Matthew, whenever I get the opportunity to be there and to make a play, and to be accountable each and every day in meetings throughout as the time built up,” Beckham said. “Just each and every opportunity we had, just to be there, and make the play. And I feel like the rest will take care of itself.”  

Getting up to speed with his quarterback is one thing, but winning over a whole new set of co-workers would present another challenge for Beckham. In confronting this reality, Beckham said he decided that he was going to come in with the right energy with his new teammates.

“As far as the locker room, I was just talking about it with someone earlier and they were talking about how the perception of me is going to walk into the room before I walk into the room,” Beckham said. “And again, it goes to what I was saying…If I carry that energy and try to be someone who they don’t think I am instead of just being me, it’s never going to go the right way.”

Beckham continued, “So I felt, coming in here I was just going to be me. That’s just it. And whatever someone thinks of me is what someone is going to think of me. I hope that they see me for who I am and not what the world has made me to be.”