Giants receivers' Miami trip a joking matter for QB Eli Manning

ByJordan Raanan via ESPN logo
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants don't seem all that concerned about their wide receivers' rendezvous with Justin Bieber and others on their off day in Miami. In fact, it was a locker room punchline on Tuesday when they returned to work in preparation for Sunday's playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.

Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis took a private jet to Miami after Sunday's 19-10 win over the Washington Redskins. They were captured on social media partying topless with a group of celebrities at a nightclub and on a yacht.

It didn't go unnoticed in the Giants' locker room.

"As a team we kind of always pride ourselves on being well prepared, so when I saw some of those pictures, I was a little disappointed because obviously they didn't pack accordingly. They didn't have any shirts, all long pants, no shorts, no flip-flops or anything," quarterback Eli Manning deadpanned. "So I was disappointed in their packing and not being prepared for that situation."

Manning, who spent his off day at the Giants' facility getting prepared for the wild-card game, didn't stop there.

"If guys want to get away for the day, I think they were a little low on the vitamin D and wanted to get some sunshine, get their vitamin D up to stay healthy for the cold weather in Green Bay," he said.

Apparently it was a joking matter more than anything.

"I was telling people I'm the one who took the picture," Manning said. "They just wouldn't let me in with my shirt off."

Manning and seemingly the entire locker room said they didn't mind the escapade. They all said that players are allowed to do as they please on their off day, as long as they arrive to work on time and prepared the following morning. Coach Ben McAdoo sent a similar message on Monday.

"The players are off," he said. "They're not working."

"We were going to [Florida] to get our minds right," Beckham told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "That's what we were doing. I handle my business. I'm a grown man. I do what I am supposed to be doing. I'm in the building, when I'm supposed to be in the building. I don't miss team meetings, none of that.

"I'm not perfect, but everybody knows my passion for football, when I'm on the football field. I'm here for the N.Y. Giants, especially over the next four weeks. Now, we are about to make a run, about to make a push; it's go time. Everybody is focusing on what they need to be focusing on."

Beckham, Cruz, Shepard and Lewis were all present at the Giants' facility on Tuesday. It was business as usual.

"Those guys come out to practice and are prepared for everything that we do," Manning said. "So nothing has changed."

Several players in the locker room were asked if they cared about the Miami night and answered, "Not at all." They said there have been no problems with the players who made the trip.

But the spotlight is on Beckham more than most. The partying in Miami has become a hot topic.

"To be honest, it was an off day," linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas said. "They had the luxury of going to another state to enjoy and celebrate. We just made the playoffs. There is no one saying we cannot travel somewhere. And I'm pretty sure somebody else, there were some other people, that were up at the same time just in a different state. It just sucks that those guys get so much attention, I guess, for negative things. I don't see anything wrong with it. They didn't break any rules."

That doesn't mean it's how Casillas would spend his off day.

"I wouldn't do it. But everybody is different. If I got an invite, you know then, maybe," Casillas said. "But I didn't get an invite. I like Justin Bieber. It is what it is. Those guys were in at work and ready to go and full of energy. So touché to them."

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