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can somebody pick up this today?


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Hey Odell:

Is it okay if I call you OBJ? Let me know if that’s a problem.

You are on path to become the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history after this season with a new deal worth $20 million per year, even more than your strip club buddy Von Miller. Think about it: That’s four times what Nike will pay you for those silly shoes you like to wear.

When you report to your fourth training camp with the Giants on Thursday, your approval rating with Giants fans will be at its peak after your act of kindness last week. Going out of your way to travel to Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle to cheer up a nine-year-old boy suffering with a rare form of cancer was heartwarming. You are Jayro Ponce’s favorite player and through the magic of social media and the Make-A-Wish Foundation the meeting came together. Nice job.

Nobody has ever questioned your heart — on or off the field. You are great with kids. You play with a rare passion. Nobody hates losing worse than you. Just check with the metal wall you bashed with your head in Philly or the wall you punched out in Green Bay.

Ouch. Did it hurt?

You are the only player in NFL history to have at least 80 catches and 1,000 yards receiving in each of your first three seasons. Not even Jerry Rice did that. Of course, he spent half his rookie year dropping passes from Joe Montana until the son of a bricklayer figured things out. You and your best pal, Jarvis Landry, are tied for the most catches in the first three years of a career with 288.

But … we have seen this movie before in New York when the next great thing in sports captivates the city, loves the spotlight a little too much, and it never ends pretty.

Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry would have been Mets for life and in the Hall of Fame if they didn’t succumb to the temptation of drugs and throw their careers into a living hell. Lawrence Taylor, despite his cocaine addiction, still managed to be the greatest defensive player in NFL history, but imagine how much greater he might have been if he took care of himself and how his post-football life might not have included so many days in the courtroom.

Matt Harvey was supposed to be the next Tom Seaver until he wasn’t. He’s been so unlucky with a series of serious arm injuries, but he also fell in love with being a celebrity. Look at what happened to Darrelle Revis’ career once he was guaranteed $39 million from the Jets. He got satisfied and stopped playing hard.

This is the most important year of your career with big money just waiting to fill up your pockets. We know you are doing the Giants a favor playing at $1.8 million this season and not making a big stink about it. At least not yet. I think they are prepared to give you a new long-term deal sometime this season or definitely before next March to wipe out the $8.4 million option for 2018 they picked up.

Here’s the issue: You have yet to prove you are all grown up. Maturity was the mandate from GM Jerry Reese after you beat up the wall outside the locker room at Lambeau Field following the worst game of your career in the playoffs in Green Bay. By the way, was it really smart to come out in the pre-game warmups with no shirt when the wind chill was four degrees? Come on, you can catch pneumonia.

Also, how do you make all those acrobatic catches in warmups every week and then drop an easy TD in the end zone in the first quarter before your hands have enough time to get numb?

Down the corridor from Reese on the second floor of the Giants offices, co-owner John Mara insists he wants another dozen players just like you and hopes you spend your entire career with the Giants.

The messages from Reese and Mara may be a bit conflicting, but the realization is the same: They know they have something special and don’t want you to blow it. You are unstoppable on the field — unless you stop yourself.

Your meltdowns on the field in the first three years of your career have been talked about as much as your accomplishments: The Josh Norman street brawl at the 50, Reese having to babysit you by your locker following a game in which Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes shut you down, banging your head against the wall in Philly, the playoff week boat trip to nowhere, the dropped passes against the Packers, the hole in the wall, the skipped OTAs.

Fashion question: Why didn’t you and Cruz and Shepard and Lewis bring shorts to Miami? Do you know how ridiculous you guys looked on the SS OBJ wearing jeans?

Advice: Stay away from Justin Bieber and Johnny Manziel. Just a bad look hanging with those knuckleheads.

Where do you take your career from here? Will you become a shooting star brought down by the intoxication of success? I think you need to spend some time with Derek Jeter. Find out how he navigated through 20 years of being in the spotlight in New York and never generated negative news. Go a few lockers to your left and talk to Eli. Know who your friends are and who wants a piece of you.

There are going to be flashpoints during the season when it will become evident if you are growing up. Norman is already baiting you. Beat him on one of those 15-yard slants you take all the way and then take advantage of the new dancing rules in the NFL to rub it in. But don’t let him drag you into a fight. Don’t pout if Brandon Marshall has seven catches and two TDs in a season-opening victory in Dallas and Eli has only targeted you three times.

Remember, it’s all about the team.

If you have another great season and earn the Giants’ trust, you will be on your way to becoming one of the all-time best.

You have good parents. You’re smart. New York can swallow up stars. Grow up and be careful.


Gary Myers

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