The Giants trade that sent Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns earlier this month left many New York fans upset.
Team co-owner and president John Mara got a painful reminder of that when he called his two grandsons to inform them the star wide receiver had been traded.
“Both of ’em sobbed uncontrollably on the phone,’’ Mara said Sunday at the NFL’s league meeting (via the New York Post). “One of them is speaking to me now, the other one is not so sure. I say that half-kiddingly but it was not an easy decision.’’
Mara had a couple of public squabbles with Beckham during the receiver’s five seasons in New York (he noted last October that Beckham needed to “do a little more playing and a little less talking”), yet he admitted he was “reluctant” to approve the trade. The Giants received Cleveland’s No. 17 overall pick in the 2019 draft, the second of the Browns’ third-round picks (No. 95) and promising young safety Jabrill Peppers.
“I will tell you it was a reluctant approval on my part, because I happen to like Odell very much and I recognize the unique talent that he has,’’ Mara said. “It’s not easy to trade that player to another team.
“I understand also we have a lot of holes we need to fill and if we make the right decisions with that first pick and with that third pick, we obviously like Jabrill Peppers a lot. Ultimately I gave my 50 percent share of the approval.’’
Despite his reluctance to part with OBJ, Mara admitted that Beckham’s sometimes controversial actions and comments were a factor in his departure.
“Honestly, there were times when it did bother me and I had conversations with him about it, but it was never to the point where we said to (general manager Dave Gettleman), ‘You got to get rid of this guy,’ ” Mara said. “It never reached that point. But is it a factor in the final decision? Yeah, it’s a factor. The thing about him, though, is he’s a good guy. He did a lot of good things with us. He was terrific with the Make-A-Wish kids we brought into the facility every week.
“It wasn’t like we were getting rid of a guy who was gonna be a criminal. Yeah, he was somebody, there was always some extra issues he brought into the building every day. But it was never to the point where it was unmanageable.’’
Beckham, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, signed a five-year, $95 million extension in August. The 26-year-old wideout has 390 catches, 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns in his career.