Odell Beckham Jr. has proved beyond any doubt that his internet-shattering one-handed (three fingers, really) catch last year on Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys was no fluke. He’s repeated the feat several times this year, and peeled off a few monstrous catch-and-runs for touchdowns. He’s also proved that if you get the cover of Madden and Sports Illustrated in the same year, that the fabled jinxes offset, as he continues to be a top-five NFL wideout and begins his assault on the Giants record books. He spoke to M&F after the Giants’ latest fourth-quarter collapse to the Jets at a press event hosted by his sponsor, Head & Shoulders.

M&F: You’ve had so much success and showed no signs of any sophomore slump, but is it harder to enjoy with the struggles the team has endured?

OBJ: For sure. Football isn’t just my job. It’s what I love doing. The way that the season has gone, it’s been really unfortunate. You lose sleep at night over things like this. To have some of the losses we’ve had—the way that we’ve lost, it doesn’t leave a good feeling.

M&F: Especially when you look at the greatest catches you’ve made, the greatest plays you’ve made…

OBJ: They’ve all come in losses. It’s not fun, and quite frankly, it’s hard to get over.

M&F: Tom Coughlin is on the hot seat again—I know that you can’t speculate on what might or might not happen, but what has he meant to your development being your first coach in the pros?

OBJ: It’s such an awesome experience. In college I kind of learned my lesson about having a coach that’s always on you. When you have a coach that’s always on you, you’re like, “Why am I always the one getting picked on?” Somebody could do something and not get in trouble for it and I’d do the same thing and get in trouble. I had to mature to realize that if a coach is always on you like that, he probably sees something in you. You should worry if he’s not on you. And since the minute I walked in here—it could’ve been a lot of things, the fact that I’m a wide receiver, the blonde mohawk, I could just see that things are set up where you could be misunderstood.

M&F: There are a few generations between you two.

OBJ: Right. But as we grew and developed and got to know each other, I have so much respect for Coach Coughlin, what he’s been able to do in his career and what he continues to do. He’s an amazing person. He’s taught me so much.

I’d imagine he probably had something to say to you after you kicked the ball in the Jets game.

Yeah, I talked to him and my wide receiver coach as well. While it’s happening in the moment, I’m not thinking that’s a real penalty. The kick—that was not what I was trying to do. I looked and said, “That went kind of far…” And then I see the flags and I said, “Am I really getting flagged for this?” It’s tough. I’ve got to do better and I’ve got to know better than that. You never want to put yourself in a situation to hurt the team.

M&F: It’s been a month since a win. How’s the locker room?

OBJ: We could use one, for sure. It’s not fun losing—in anything. I don’t care what it is. I don’t care if it’s a card game, a video game, I hate losing. We definitely need to get a win and it’s going to have to be this weekend.

M&F: Pro strength and conditioning coaches tend to treat athletes with a Hippocratic oath, “First, do no harm.” They’re not looking to max you out and see how far they can push you. But in college they do a lot of that. What kind of maxes did you hit in college?

OBJ: I’d have to call [LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy] Moffitt probably… but he’s known for being one of the best strength coaches in the nation. He had me doing things… I never thought I could get up to a bodyweight of 200 pounds or bench 315 or squat over 400, or power clean 286. Fitness takes a lot of commitment. People say they want to get buff or strong, but don’t know the work it takes day in and day out to get there.

M&F: You must do a lot of work outside the team setting. Take me through what you’d do in the offseason.

OBJ: I’ll get up, have an early workout, get some lunch, chill, then have an afternoon workout—one is strength-based, one is speed-based. That’s 5 or 6 days a week with 1 or 2 days off. To me it’s fun—not necessarily the workouts, but having a schedule. Having something where it’s consistent and you know it will never really fail.

M&F: Grip strength is something that people speculate about with you because of the one-handed catches. Do you do anything for grip strength?

OBJ: I do, but… I mean, I’ll take a rubber band and move my fingers around in it. If you put me on a grip strength test, there are probably a million people out there who have a way stronger grip. I think mine is more natural. I think I had some gifted parents.

M&F: Well, there’s touch and then there’s grip.

OBJ: Right.

Taking Care of His Hair


M&F: You have your barber [Arthur Pique] here with you for the Head & Shoulders event. How did you guys meet?

Arthur Pique: We met in the facility. I was cutting a lot of the Giants for the last 6 years. I was the guy in the locker room every weekend when the guys were trying to get fresh. And as soon as he made it here, he’d come in, take a peek, keep going, then one day he finally came in. [Laughs] I knew he’d eventually come in.

M&F: It does take a while to build that trust. How long did you wait?

OBJ: Two weeks. I was letting my hair grow and I was in the process of, “Who am I going to let cut my hair?” But he had been here a while and he always had Antrelle [Rolle] and his big head looking fresh. It’s simple for most people, “Oh, I need a haircut, let me go get a haircut.” But it’s not like that. When you go into the barbershops, it’s a time to catch up, get your mind off some things. It’s real getaway time.

M&F: And if it’s not fresh, you’re not going to perform as well? At least in your head.

OBJ: You’re not. They always say look good, feel good, play good.

AP: I will say this: I hate getting a guy with good hair, and then as soon as I take my clippers across it, flakes start flying out. For him, he has one of the longest hairstyles in the NFL, and not one time I cut his hair have flakes come out. It’s pretty remarkable that he teamed up with Head & Shoulders.

OBJ: The thing I like most about it—you know how at the shop they give you the little massage? Well, showering and being able to use Head & Shoulders Instant Relief—being able to itch your scalp, it really feels amazing. It’s like an Icy Hot sensation being able to keep your head cool and warm.

M&F: Does Arthur do the color too?

OBJ: No, that’s all natural. I’m Caribbean.