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NFL AM: Beckham Suspended, Ruins Reputation

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Beckham’s Reputation Spoiled

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. lost his mind for a while in Sunday’s 38-35 loss to the Carolina Panthers, and although the damage done isn’t irreparable, it does cast aspersions on his image for the time being.

Beckham received three personal foul penalties during the loss, each directed at Carolina cornerback Josh Norman.  The final cheap shot was a completely unnecessary helmet-to-helmet hit on a running play where neither was directly involved.

On ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown, former Baltimore Ravens outspoken linebacker Ray Lewis said that Beckham, “Went too far.”

When an alleged double-murderer says you’ve gone too far, then you’ve probably gone a little too far.

Although the officials on the field somehow didn’t find it just to throw the Giants superstar out of the game, the NFL stepped in and levied a one-game suspension on Monday.

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin spoke about the situation, and his player.

“We all know that the personal battles have no presence in the game of football, not at any level,” Coughlin said.  “They’re a distraction. They break concentration. They prevent the great game of football from being played as a team, team sport.

“That being said, there are qualities that Odell Beckham, this young man, bring to this football team the likes of which I’ve never seen. He has great energy. He has great enthusiasm. He gives great effort. He does it literally every day that he walks out on the field. I will not defend his actions yesterday, because they were wrong and this particular franchise and organization does not tolerate that. But I will defend the young man, and the quality of the person. I will defend him as long as I am able.”

Prior to Sunday, Beckham was known as a fun-loving superstar wide receiver who made impossible catches routinely.  His pre-game warmups were must-see TV and he handled himself with a great sense of style and modern class.

His cheap shot(s) on Norman are now the lasting impression of Beckham, regardless of how he plays for the rest of the season.  The second-year star from LSU has the potential to be an all-time great, but this slip-up early in his career will cost him plenty of endorsement money and the respect of his peers.

Woodson Hanging It Up

One of the greatest players in the history of football has announced that he will retire at season’s end.

No, we’re not talking about Peyton Manning, at least not yet.

Charles Woodson has had a storied career at both cornerback and safety, and is a mortal lock to earn enshrinement in Canton, Ohio in the summer of 2021.

The 18-year veteran earned Pro Bowl honors eight times and First-Team All-Pro honors three times during his illustrious career.  Woodson’s 65 career interceptions rank him fifth all-time and obviously first among active players.

The most impressive honor that Woodson achieved during his career came while at the University of Michigan, where he won the Heisman Trophy over future Hall of Famer’s Peyton Manning and Randy Moss.

Woodson spent the first eight years of his career in Oakland with the Raiders as well as the last three years, after spending the previous seven seasons in Green Bay where he won a Super Bowl title with the Packers in 2010.

Unlike many players who try to hang on at the twilight of their careers, Woodson has been outstanding at the age of 39.  He has five interceptions this season for a Raiders team that was hanging around in the Wildcard race until a few weeks ago.

His final game in Oakland (and possibly the team’s final game in Oakland) will be on Christmas Eve as the Raiders host the San Diego Chargers.

Mariota Likely Shut Down For The Season

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota left Sunday’s 33-16 loss to the New England Patriots with a knee injury that’s now being reported as an MCL sprain.  This will likely keep the rookie out for the Titans remaining two games against the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts.

Mariota had a nice rookie campaign as he completed 62.2 percent of his throws, for 2,818 yards with 21 total touchdowns (19 passing) and 10 interceptions for a passer rating of 91.5.

The second-overall pick from Oregon dealt with lots of change as he lost receiver after receiver to injury, and the coach that drafted him, all during the season.  Still, Mariota left no doubts that he is the Titans future at the position and certainly a player that they can build around.

Sitting Mariota in a pair of meaningless games also gives the Titans another chance to showcase backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger for a potential trade.  The second-year signal caller from LSU has a big arm and can make every throw required.  They will have offers on the table if he plays well, but the Titans must decide whether parting ways with an outstanding young backup will be worth what will likely be a middle-round draft pick.

Cards Lose Honey Badger To ACL Injury

The Arizona Cardinals dream season was derailed last year by an ACL injury to quarterback Carson Palmer.

This year’s season might not be completely derailed, but it certainly took a hit on Sunday after safety Tyrann Mathieu left the team’s 40-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles with a knee injury, that turns out to be a torn ACL.

Mathieu was playing at the highest level of his career and was likely to play in his first Pro Bowl, assuming that Arizona doesn’t make the Super Bowl.  The “Honey Badgerm” as he was nicknamed at LSU, has five interceptions and finally grew into the role of a rangy free safety and was playing near the level of the great Earl Thomas.

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians described just how much his star safety means to him and the team.

“It’s his energy and passion, at everything,” Arians said. “He’s just so good to be around, for us coaches and for his teammates. He wants to be great every day. I mean, we could lose Carson (Palmer) or Patrick (Peterson) and it’d be devastating. We could replace Tyrann, but who would replace his interceptions and his sacks? I have to say, he’s my favorite. This would be devastating for him.”

This is a legitimate blow for Arizona’s title hopes.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.