Their absences must have been glaring. No Landon Collins. No Olivier Vernon. No locker with the nameplate of Odell Beckham Jr. The players no longer with the Giants have far more marquee value than anyone the team added. Yet, as the Giants came together Monday for the start of their offseason workouts, there was no intentional mention of the missing star power.
“No, I think the important thing was bringing the group that we have here together,’’ coach Pat Shurmur said. “While they were Giants, we were rooting for them and doing everything we could to get them better. We are rooting for them now that they are out of our building. As we move forward, I think it is important that we move forward with the group we have.’’
Eli Manning said he learned of the March 12 mega-deal with the Browns while watching television and reading the news crawl on the screen. His first reaction was to think about Odell the person and not Beckham the receiver who caught 390 of Manning’s passes the past five years.
“I wanted to try and reach out to him,” Manning said. “Odell has been a teammate for five years and been a good friend. In these circumstances, you think about the person involved. It’s more than the player. You have a relationship.”
Manning said he did get in touch with Beckham. Any offense devoid of Beckham’s uncommon ability will be different but the Giants believe they will not be diminished. The Giants scored 40, 27 and 35 points in games without Beckham at the end of last season but also were shut out by the Titans as Beckham sat with a quad contusion. The only addition to the receiver group was the signing of veteran Golden Tate.
“Guys have to step up,’’ Manning said. “We have good players on this team. Talented receivers and running backs. He is a tremendous player and was a tremendous player for us. There are certain things that he can do that not everyone can do, but we still have guys that can play and help us be a tremendous offense and score a lot of points.’’
Receiver Sterling Shepard, who recently signed a four-year contract extension worth $41 million, said “I was a little shocked at first, like everyone else was,’’ when he heard Beckham, a good friend, was sent to Cleveland.
“I will miss him in a lot of ways,’’ Shepard said. “I learned a lot from him on the field. That’s like a brother to me. That’ll never be lost, but just being able to talk to him on game days on what we see. He’s one of the best receivers in the game, in my opinion. It’s great to have that type of guy on your team that you could bounce ideas off of and share what’s going on through their eyes.”
Shurmur said every player but one was in attendance for the start of the voluntary program and that one player informed him ahead of time he has a previous commitment and would be in the building Tuesday.
CB Sam Beal, selected in the 2018 supplemental draft, is “bright-eyed and ready to go … 100 percent at this point,’’ according to Shurmur. Beal missed his entire rookie season following shoulder surgery.
Shurmur said center Jon Halapio, coming off a fractured ankle, “is working and getting ready to go.’’
It comes as no surprise Manning has no intention of pulling a Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter to declare this will be his final season with the Giants, if that happens to be the case.
“I think I will go the traditional route,’’ he said. “I thought that was a baseball thing. I know some basketball players have done it, but I don’t see going out that way.’’