Running back Rashad Jennings spends some time during practice -- usually during special teams drills -- working on the side on agility drills and stretches designed to help him remain healthy through the rigors of a football season. It's like an extended warm-up. He's typically alone during that period.
On Thursday he had company.
Injured rookie Odell Beckham Jr. was Jennings' shadow, following him step for choppy step, stride for exaggerated stride through the program.
"He came up to me and was kind of saying. 'I like how hard you run, I like how hard you work, can you show me some things?' " Jennings said. "And I have."
Jennings said he sat down with Beckham and explained not only his regimen but his reasoning. All of the functional movement drills, all of the pregame and postgame stretches. When to lift weights. When to eat and sleep. When to get a massage.
"He's somebody who wants to learn," Jennings said. "He's eager to play ball. He just wants to contribute."
Beckham may still be a good deal of time away from that. He has yet to participate in a full practice with the team since injuring his hamstring in the spring, aggravating it on the first day of training camp, and then aggravating it in mid-August. It's been a month since he's been on the field with the team for even a part of practice.
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said he doesn't even allow himself to daydream about what the offense will look like when Beckham returns.
"He has a special skill set," McAdoo said. ""He's gifted, he's talented, he's smart, he's conscientious. I'm excited for the chance for him to come out here. It's got to be painful for him right now so I'm not going to put myself or him through any of that. When he comes out here it will be a good bonus for all of us."
Jennings said that Beckham's injury actually might help him in the long run. While most rookies come into the league feeling invincible, ignoring the steps that veterans take to maintain their bodies, Beckham has become aware of the precariousness of his playing time at an early age.
"If I can get him to understand this with the talent that he has, he'll have a long productive career," Jennings said. "It's a blessing in disguise for him at such a young age to get a hiccup early, to realize how much dedication and preparation you need to be a great professional and have longevity in this league . . . It's fun to be around a young guy who wants to be great and he will be."
By Tom Rock | Newsday | September 18, 2014
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