By Luis Vazquez

Odell Beckham Jr. is a very talented wide receiver with a cool hairstyle who parlayed one hand catches into a super stardom art form. But if Odell Beckham Jr. is ever to be a great player, he must perform great feats when called upon on the biggest stage just as the sports and pop stars he pals around with do on their respective stages.

The New York Giants walk away at the end of an embarrassing 38-13 wild-card playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers knowing they could have done better. But the one player who needed to be at his best did not come close to resembling the three-time Pro-Bowler fans pinned their hopes on.

His hands, once boast-worthy, were as cold as the frozen Lambeau Field tundra on that windy, winter night in Wisconsin on Sunday.

Bombast is fine if you can cash the checks your mouth writes. Six catches for 28 yards is not going to get it done. Is this all Odell learned watching NBA champion Lebron James, UFC double-titleholder Colin McGregor and others win championships on their stages?

There was not a shortage of criticisms.

“You have to learn the perception of things,” Giants Quarterback Eli Manning responded to the controversy which ensued when Beckham, along with Victor Cruz, Roger Lewis and Sterling Shepard were filmed at a party in Florida with Justin Bieber after the Washington win, “You do things, you have to back them up.”

Odell could be described as confrontational all season as attested to by his six fines, erratic off-field behavior, and lack of singular focus. He, like many millennial athletes, is great at telling you what you want to hear while his actions are contradictory. Action always speak louder than words even in 2017.

Beckham has to look inward this off-season and ask himself some hard questions — especially when you drop easy passes and a possible touchdown early on that may have decided the game in the first quarter.

General manager Jerry Reese explained, “I see a guy who needs to think about some of the things that he does.” One gets the feeling that those things were pointed out to Odell when Reese and Giant Head Coach Ben McAdoo had a personal meeting after the game, “I think he’ll do that. We’ll help him with that, but he has to help himself,” said Reese.

To be fair, at age 24, and being an All-Star with three seasons under his belt, Beckham has been a godsend on the field to Giants and their fans. But perception is everything and Odell will have to decide if he wants his legacy to be the stuff of TMZ or NFL Films — as one of the best receivers ever.

Luis Vazquez is freelance sports writer and can be contacted on Facebook here.


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