Odell Beckham Jr. says he won't let Jalen Ramsey get into his head

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Thursday, September 6, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Cornerback Jalen Ramsey tries to get into the heads of opposing receivers. That's a consistent component to his game.

Odell Beckham Jr. insists it won't happen on Sunday, when the New York Giants host the Jacksonville Jaguars in their season opener.

"I think I learned my lesson," said Beckham, who has been baited before, most notably by Josh Norman late in the 2015 season. "[Ramsey] is, if not the best, one of the best corners in the league. There is no way around it."

The loquacious Ramsey, who praised Beckham but was critical of Giants quarterback Eli Manning in a GQ article last month, will likely be in Beckham's ear all afternoon on Sunday. It's not something Beckham is unfamiliar with at this point. He knows he has been a target for quite some time, admitting that some of it has been self-inflicted, and he hasn't always handled it as well as he would have liked.

Beckham insists he's different now, older and more seasoned. That 2015 incident with Norman that earned him a one-game suspension was something he has used as a learning experience. No matter what is said or done to him now, he insists there won't be a similar result.

"I remember going into the week before and, to be honest with you, I hadn't watched much tape on Josh before we had played them. I remember you all bringing me information from his interview saying this is sweet and blah, blah, blah. And the stories and papers are written," Beckham said. "It was all set up to happen what exactly happened. And I am kind of seeing things different now and just knowing it is going to be a matchup, but it's not going to be something where history repeats itself and the past and buying into the same thing."

Was he suckered into that one?

"Yeah, but I took the cheese. You can't be mad at anything that happened," he said. "I bit on it. So it's all good."

Beckham vs. Ramsey is among the marquee matchups of Week 1: one of the league's top wide receivers against one of the league's top cornerbacks, potentially on almost every play. Beckham considers Ramsey 1A or 1B among cornerbacks, along with Arizona's Patrick Peterson.

Beckham and Ramsey have never faced off before. But it can be considered a friendly rivalry. They got together this past offseason and joked about facing each other. They later found out it would be in Week 1, which sparked some more conversation.

"I'm sure it won't be as friendly as it was over the offseason," Beckham said. "We're both very, very competitive. I know that for sure. It's going to be a good game."

For Beckham, this is about much more than any individual matchup. He's excited for the opportunity to play in another NFL game, his first since shattering his ankle last October.

Beckham didn't appear in the preseason because of injury and his desire for a new contract. He was made the league's highest-paid wide receiver late last month, receiving a five-year extension worth up to $95 million. The matchup against the Jaguars is his first opportunity to prove his worth in a game environment.

"I can't stop thinking about it," Beckham said of the opener, regardless of the opponent.

The first real hit is something he looks forward to getting out of the way. This is the final box that needs to be checked in his comeback from a serious injury that cost him the final 11 games of last season. Beckham has been close to a full participant in training camp and even joint practices with the Lions, but it's not quite the same as the physicality of a game.

"Yes, obviously I can't wait to get out there, but I haven't been hit. Get you that first one. Get that hit, and it's kind of like you shake if off and keep going from there," Beckham said. "You need that first one, but it's not something I'm so much afraid of. This is football."

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