The gruesome leg injury to New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. is Exhibit A as to why players hold out any time they think they’ve outplayed their current deal.
Forget the fact the Giants’ season is essentially over following today’s 27-22 defeat to the visiting Los Angeles Chargers (1-4), and that Beckham was one of four – four! – Giants wideouts injured. But the fact the electric wideout is likely done for the year should be a cautionary tale for all National Football League players who are underpaid, pertaining to the league’s market value.
Beckham went down on an attempted pass reception in the fourth quarter and his ankle got caught under the Chargers’ defender. The video was ghastly, showing his ankle pointing west, while his knee aiming north.
Multiple reports initially stated he’ll undergo surgery, tomorrow, although Jordan Raanan of ESPN reported that Beckham will wait to get a second opinion before deciding on surgery to repair the injury. David Chao, M.D., who is a former NFL head team doctor of almost 20 years and is still a practicing orthopedic surgeon, provides real-time injury information on his Twitter account, and he reasoned Beckham’s injury is very serious. The doctor noted that upon watching the video, it appeared Beckham had suffered a symdesmotic ligament tear and a likely fibula fracture. Regardless of the exact nature of the injury, Dr. Chao reasoned it’s “almost a guarantee that the young wideout’s season is done … Beckham will require surgery and won’t be back until 2018.”
He also noted there’s a “good chance for 100% recovery.”
Beckham was carted off the field following the play, in obvious pain, and in tears. Chao likened the injury to something similar that ended Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson’s season, last week, and also the 2016 campaigns of Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, but for Beckham, the injury comes at the worst possible time for him.
Of course an injury of that magnitude is never convenient for any player – young or old, on a rookie contract or financially secure for life. But for Beckham especially, this could have financial ramifications that’ll have a great impact on his career earning potential.
The wideout initially injured that same ankle area in an August 21 preseason game at the Cleveland Browns. It was deemed a high-ankle sprain that kept him out for the remainder of the preseason, as well as the team’s season-opening primetime loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He aggravated that same injury, last week, but according to Dr. Chao, it likely had no bearing on today’s grisly injury. Chao also wanted it to be known that the Giants’ medical staff did not rush Beckham back, as he was running well previously.
It’s a crying shame for one of the league’s most electric stars, as he appeared to be on his way back to his normally sensational self. Prior to the injury, he had five receptions for 97 yards, and a touchdown – including a clever endzone celebration where he provided faux respiratory assistance on the football.
This is Beckham’s fourth season, and he is already one of the NFL’s best receivers. Giants’ fans know it, general manager Jerry Reese knows it, and Beckham himself knows it – hence his reported demands to be paid like a star quarterback. He’s racked up at least 90 receptions, 1,300 yards, and 10 touchdowns in each of his three previous years. He was on the field for all 16 games, last season, after injuries cost him five games during his first two years.
He got off to a slow start this season while notching just 20 receptions for 205 yards and two touchdowns, prior to today’s game. But as he was roasting the Chargers’ secondary, it appeared he was on his way back to prominence. The future never seemed as bright for Beckham prior to the start of training camp – especially with the addition of Brandon Marshall to take some of the pressure off him.
But now, the Giants’ season is sunk, Beckham’s season is over, and he’ll have a hard time bargaining for a lucrative extension while still on his original rookie deal — once again, making Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders seem ever-so clairvoyant when he screams, “Pay da man!” any time a star seeks long-term financial security.