Fans arriving early at MetLife Stadium this season have been treated to a pregame routine as impressive as Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.'s renowned one-handed catch display.
After the Giants' wide receivers finish catching passes from quarterback Eli Manning about two hours before kickoff, they conduct an elaborate series of handshakes before heading back into the locker room.
"We started doing it in training camp," rookie receiver Sterling Shepard said. "When we started grinding with each other we were here until 9 o'clock. Shoot, you can have some pretty boring times. You just try to think of some stuff."
Each of the Giants six wide receivers — Shepard, Beckham, Victor Cruz, Dwayne Harris, Roger Lewis and Tavarres King — have a unique handshake with one another.
"Each handshake kind of shows each person's character," Lewis said. "If I'm doing something with Cruz, we do 'sleep' because Cruz got slept on for the past two years. And then we do the Otto dance for me. Odell and TK do the Usain Bolt (pose) because TK is pretty fast."
The receivers treat the handshakes like their children, careful not to identify one as their favorite.
"I love all of them," Shepard said. "They're all near and dear to me."
But Cruz admitted that he is partial to his "rock star" handshake with Beckham. The two most famous members of the Giants' receiving corps do a series of hand slaps before playing the air guitar.
"I love them all. But the one with Odell and I is pretty good because we play this guitar like we're both rock stars," Cruz said. "That's one of my favorites. They all call us rock stars in the meeting room, so that's where it came from."
The handshakes are a new tradition built from the bonds formed during long days at the Giants' facility in the preseason.
"It's just the bond we've got in our room," Lewis said. "All of us have a good bond together. We just like to have fun. We call each other brothers and we just do that type of stuff."
The handshakes, which have become more elaborate as the season has progressed, take practice to perfect. The receivers have multiple handshakes with one another. There are abbreviated versions used during games and there is the full pregame routine that went viral on social media this week.
"It takes a little minute," Shepard said of learning the handshakes. "During training camp, you're not only training football, you're training handshakes, too. You're going to mess up a couple of times, but you end up getting it."
The receivers are holding out hope that they'll be able to incorporate Manning into their routine, but he has been reluctant to join.
"I haven't figured out my handshake," Manning said. "I have too many plays to remember. I don't know if I can remember a full minute-long handshake. I like watching their little routine. I watch a few of them. I think it's their deal. It's fun and I'm all for it."
Dan Duggan | nj.com | November 26, 2016