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Giants owner: Trading Odell was 'reluctant' decision

For the first time since his family's organization traded away Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants president and co-owner John Mara addressed the wide receiver's departure from Big Blue and the decision-making behind it.

"[The Cleveland Browns] made an offer that [general manager] Dave [Gettleman] and [coach] Pat [Shurmur] found compelling and we ultimately approved it," Mara told reporters, per NFL Network's Kimberly Jones at the Annual League Meeting on Sunday. "Not an easy decision. ... It was a reluctant decision because I like Odell."

It's been 12 days since New York agreed to trade Beckham to Cleveland in a blockbuster deal, a move that proved unpopular with and seen as miscalculated by many Giants fans.

Mara insisted he was just as torn by sending New York's most engaging player and phenomenal athlete to another franchise and that "it's not going to be easy" to watch Beckham's future highlights with the Browns.

The Giants owner told reporters that the "toughest" part of trading Beckham away was telling his grandsons that the organization had traded away their favorite players. As Mara tells it, one of his grandsons has not spoken to him since.

In addition to recounting Beckham's exit, Mara also took time Sunday to defend New York's decision to stick with veteran quarterback Eli Manning as the Giants' starter heading into 2019.

Mara told reporters, per Jones, that it "really gets under my skin" that the New York and national media suggest that "sentimentality" is why the 38-year-old Manning, who has spent the entirety of his 15-year career with the Giants, remains on the team with no replacement in sight.

"We're going to take it one year at a time," Mara said of Manning's status with the team, per Jones. "At this point you take it one year at a time."

Gettleman was similarly frustrated earlier this week by the media's characterization of New York's quarterback situation. The GM told reporters that "this narrative Eli is overpaid and can't play is a crock."

At No. 6 in the upcoming draft, New York is in prime position to select the QB of the future, potentially Dwayne Haskins, and Gettleman has insisted that the Giants have "a plan" in trying to win and rebuild at the same time.

Whether Big Blue can pull it off and regain the trust and love of Mara's grandsons remains to be seen.

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