Eli: Odell Beckham learning to let talent speak for him

Who knew Eli Manning, one of the NFL's least celebratory players, had so many thoughts on celebrations?

In a video posted to ESPN.com this week, Manning was asked about the sometimes-eccentric nature of star wideout Odell Beckham. Beckham has been a breath of fresh air and a lightning rod all at once in New York, with some taking exception to his emotional playing style.

"I think there's a time -- hey, you score a touchdown and you want to do a celebration or a dance -- so be it. I'm OK with it," Manning said. "I just think you need to make sure you're not insulting someone else or doing it to put someone down or after a catch or a first down not doing too much. I think there's a time and a place for it."

The conversation then turned to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

"It doesn't bother me," Manning said of Newton's celebrations during the season. "I could see why it may rub people the wrong way. It may rub other players around the NFL the wrong way for doing it. But hey, it's all within the rules. If you want to do a touchdown dance -- I tell my receivers, as long as you're scoring and getting touchdowns I'm OK with the dances and I'd say the same thing to Cam. But be respectful, you don't want to cause a scene to where people are targeting you ... or it might cause a distraction to the team."

It was interesting to hear Manning talk about Beckham in this context. He seemed to think that the negative aspect of Beckham's celebratory style hurt him more a year ago than it did in 2015, when he was suspended for a game after a melee with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman. Beckham began to see himself targeted fairly early in his rookie season and was at the center of a full-scale brawl in St. Louis late in the year.

"I think Odell has gotten better," Manning said. "I think he learned you don't want to be that guy. Let your talent, let your play kind of do the speaking for you. I thought this year he was much better. I thought the Carolina game was the exception. He kind of reverted back to his old self."

For some -- perhaps not for Manning and former head coach Tom Coughlin -- it was a matter of taste. Like Victor Cruz in 2011 and Michael Strahan before that, some players just embrace the big city spotlight differently than others.

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