The superstar receiver spoke to GQ for a cover story feature published Monday, and before Beckham can turn the page on his next NFL stop, there is still some rehashing of the past few seasons with the New York Giants to be done.
"I forever will have love for the New York fans," responded when asked if he feared his brand shrinking with the move from New York to Cleveland. "They gave me my first home. But there's this sense of entitlement -- like I was made there. And in my head, that was the first place I had the opportunity to show the world what God had set out for me to do. It didn't matter where I was at. Now, did it help that it was Sunday Night Football for the New York Giants versus the Dallas Cowboys? One thousand percent. But The Catch happened around the entire world. I feel like it wouldn't matter where I was at-once you got hooked onto who I was and what I was doing. And who knows? If I was in another place, you don't know if the numbers would've been more or less."
Beckham's interview with GQ's Mark Anthony Green reads like a man yearning to move on from the past but remains frustrated by getting dragged down the same streets over and over again.
Beckham reiterated his reaction to getting traded from New York to Cleveland, which he Tweeted in the spring, that he felt "disrespected" the team didn't keep him in the loop throughout the process.
"My initial reaction was not disappointment. ... I felt disrespected," Beckham said of the trade. "Like, after everything I've done for them. This is me being honest: This team has not been good for the last six years. Period. Even the year we went to the playoffs and everyone was talking about this and that. And we went there, and I didn't have a great playoff game. Don't get me wrong, I had a terrible game. But I left the game with seven targets, and I'm supposed to be your number one receiver. I left the game with seven targets. We lost. They scored 40 points. It's just all bad. I felt disrespected, because I felt like I was a main reason at keeping that brand alive. They were getting prime-time games, still, as a 5-and-11 team. Why? Because people want to see the show. You want to see me play. That's just real rap. I'm not sitting here like, "It's because of me." But let's just be real. That's why we're still getting prime-time games. I felt disrespected they weren't even man enough to even sit me down to my face and tell me what's going on."
Beckham made it clear he places the blame for the frustrating situation on Giants GM Dave Gettleman.
"The GM," Beckham responded when asked who "they" meant. "And I'll forever have respect for [Giants president and CEO] Mr. Mara. Everything he's ever done for me, he's shown nothing but love. Even when we were having our talks, it was coming from a place of love. I could always feel it. So I'll forever have respect for him. But then to be called like that and then be texted by your coach and be like, 'Oh, yeah, I heard the news.' Yeah, you heard the news? It happened because of you. The reason I'm gone is because of you. It was just tough because of the way I initially felt. On the other side of it, I was excited about a new start because I had been-honestly, I had been praying to God the season before this season for a change."
Beckham, who signed a massive contract extension a year ago, insinuated remorse that he inked the deal with the Giants.
"I had no say-so at any point," he said. "When I was younger. Now. You know? And I felt like I had moved past my past. I really felt like: Why did we even sign this contract? What did we sign this for? That's what I felt during the season. Why did we do this deal to not feel long-term, because I don't feel like y'all are still wanting me to be here long-term during the season. I could feel it during the season. I would be up and down the sidelines saying that, like, 'Why did you sign me?' I could've just not did this at all."
Beckham seems anxious to move on from the past -- though the start of training camp will likely only bring about more rehashes -- and looks toward the future. His immediate future, and ultimately the next decade.
"I'm so excited about the opportunity that I have to be in Cleveland!" Beckham said. "I think it goes for everything I stand for when I talk about legendary. The Catch was cool. It was legendary, in a sense. But legendary is going to Cleveland and trying to win a championship. And I have to go back to this comment because I said something recently about being the Patriots: Who does not get into this game to be 11-and-5 or 12-and-4 every season, to win their conference, to win the championship, to go to the Super Bowl? What else would you do this for? Every year at the Giants, when they'd ask me, 'What are your goals this year?' I would say to win a Super Bowl. There's no sugarcoating it. Even if you feel like your team can't do it, the goal is to win the Super Bowl. I don't understand what else I'm playing for. Playing to have a good season? No, bro. I'm trying to win the Super Bowl."
OBJ's main goal being a Super Bowl victor won't fit well into critic's narrative, which usually fixates on the receiver only being interested in personal accolades.
As for his long-term future, the 26-year-old said he sees himself playing 10 more years, "or until I can pass Jerry (Rice). That's the goal: 23,000 yards."
That's a lofty goal. Beckham currently has 5,476 yards through five seasons. He'll have to get on quite a roll in Cleveland to catch Rice.