Not long ago, Landon Collins thought he and Odell Beckham Jr. would be with the New York Giants for years, the foundational pieces upon which the Giants would be rebuilt.
Now neither one is with the franchise, and Collins, who signed a free-agent deal with NFC East rival Washington, is wondering why.
‘They felt like he was a problem’
In an interview with Ryan Dunleavy of NJ Advance Media, Collins said he wasn’t surprised that New York traded Beckham, as he believes the Giants saw the receiver as a problem basically for his entire tenure with the team.
“Was I shocked with Odell? No, honestly not,” Collins said. “They felt like he was a problem the whole time. Ever since Odell stepped into the league with them, they felt like he was a problem, I felt like from the outside.”
Beckham was traded to the Cleveland Browns in March, with co-owner John Mara agreeing to the move because of all of Beckham’s controversies. Shy of being publicly critical of Eli Manning last season (and really, he wasn’t wrong), it’s hard to see how Beckham was seen as some kind of problem child.
‘We loved him’
While the front office was seemingly itching to get rid of one of the most productive and electrifying offensive players in the NFL, Collins said players had the opposite view of Beckham.
“We loved him. Odell is my brother,” Collins said. “He is not that kind of guy, or what people think he is about or what the organization did. I don’t know why.”
Mara has refuted the notion that the Giants painted Beckham as a bad guy.
“I never said that to you and I’ve never said that to anybody else,” Mara said. “We’ve never taken that position about him. I just said that he was a good guy, he’s somebody we liked very much, that we embraced.
“Did he bring extra issues into the building from time to time? Yes, he did, but I thought they were manageable ones, particularly given the talent.”
Giants never made Collins an offer
A third-round draft pick of the Giants in 2015 who led the team in tackles in each of his four seasons, with a first-team All-Pro and three Pro Bowl nods already on his résumé, Collins signed a six-year, $84 million contract with Washington.
He wanted to stay with New York, but made it clear he didn’t want to play under the franchise tag. According to Collins, there were no contract talks during the season, and instead of tagging him as a placeholder to make sure he didn’t get away and buy time to work out a long-term deal, the Giants just let him leave.
“I’m starting a new chapter and I’m on a good team," Collins said. “When I left the Giants, I was kind of heartbroken. I loved the Giants. When I started there, I wanted to finish there. I wanted to be one of those guys to finish his career on one team.
“They didn’t give me the opportunity to do that. It’s a business. I can’t do anything about that.”
Despite his new football home, Collins is still hosting a celebrity softball game with his former teammates in Pomona, N.Y., on June 8. The game will benefit St. Christopher’s, a local non-profit Collins worked with during his time with the Giants that benefits women and children.
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