New York Giants
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OTAs open without Beckham and Vernon
Organized Team Activities are, per the current NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, voluntary.
That's probably what New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Olivier Vernon would tell people to remember if they were in East Rutherford, N.J., with the rest of the team working during the final phase of the spring in which offense can compete in non-contact drills against defense.
Both Beckham and Vernon have missed the first three workouts that began Tuesday, though both have been present for earlier parts of the offseason program, according to sources.
Despite the voluntary nature of the workouts, that both players would be absent for the part of the offseason program that allows the offense to work against the defense and build on what has been put in place already is curious.
It's not known why Vernon, who is notoriously private about his off-field activities, has been absent. Head coach Ben McAdoo declined to answer questions regarding whether Vernon or Beckham had communicated the reason for their absences ahead of time.
What is known is that part of the blockbuster five-year, $85 million deal he signed last year, Vernon has a $250,000 per year workout bonus while Beckham, who is on year four of his rookie deal, has no workout bonus provision.
"You want all your players here, especially your great players," McAdoo said. "It's a time to build fundamentals chemistry, communication and trust. So, you want all your players here, especially your great ones who facilitate that for you, but you coach who's here."
Unlike Vernon, the more social media friendly Beckham has been all over the headlines. He was photographed earlier in the week after working out with former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel, who has the same trainer.
Beckham was also reportedly spotted partying earlier this week with pop star Iggy Azalea, according to multiple reports.
For as brilliant as Beckham's career has been on the field, it's taken some hits off.
Last year, Beckham had a series of emotional meltdowns in frustration over the unfolding of games, among them his swinging at the kicking net, his banging his head against the wall after a loss to the Eagles at Philadelphia, and his punching a hole in the wall outside the visiting locker room at Green Bay following the Giants' playoff elimination, a game in which Beckham had a couple of key dropped passes.
Beckham's antics drew sharp criticism from general manager Jerry Reese, who told reporters the day after the Giants were eliminated that the 24-year-old receiver needed to "grow up" and start thinking about what he did off the field.
At the end of last year, Reese challenged the Giants' receiving yardage leader in each of the last three years to "grow up" after a series of off-field incidents saw him lose his cool and react in a way that brought more scrutiny and headaches to both Beckham and the team than anyone probably wanted.
McAdoo quickly grew tired of questions about Beckham, at one point delivering an answer to a question that had literally nothing to do with the question asked.
When the questions about his concern level over Beckham's maturation persisted, McAdoo said, "Again, we want all players to be here and we coach the guys who are here."