indianapolis: xavier rhodes intends to keep his cool this time when he takes on odell beckham jr.
They are four years older and presumably wiser. They’re on different teams: Rhodes is now a cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts, while Beckham is a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns.
but when the 3-1 afc teams meet in cleveland on sunday, it’s hard to imagine either player backing down or taking any trash talk from the other without a response. I’m sure they didn’t last long.
Tempers flared in Monday night football in 2016, when Rhodes was emerging as one of the NFL’s elite cover types and made a primetime statement by shutting down Beckham. Rhodes, who was with Minnesota, Limited Beckham, who was with N.Y. Giants, a career-low three catches from him, for 23 yards in a 24-10 Vikings win.
rhodes was determined to match obj in every way, be it physical or mouth. Rhodes hit Beckham twice after he stepped out of bounds. The first time it happened in the second quarter, Beckham ran into Rhodes and hit him, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting, with the receiver also making contact with an umpire. beckham shot rhodes at the end of the next play.
after another sideways collision, rhodes had to be restrained by an assistant coach. yes, as these highlights show, it was intense.
rhodes insists there is no need for his history to repeat itself.
“nah, man,” he said on Tuesday. “That was in the past, man. this is a new year. chances are we’re just going to go out and play ball. we’re older guys and we’re going to go out there and try to get the win.”
suffice it to say that beckham certainly remembers him. NFL players have long memories and are often motivated to get revenge.
Both teams have won three in a row. The Browns are off to their best start since 2001. The Colts are 3-1 for the first time since 2013.
The three-time bowl pro and two-time all-pro wide receiver is coming off a monster game in Dallas, where he scored three times, twice on receptions and once in a finish.
rhodes laughed and shook his head as he asked himself the anticipated question about beckham on a zoom video call.
“my god, I knew that question would come to me, sooner or later,” he said. “Odell is a great receiver, man, one of the top five receivers in the league. with him, personally, you just have to be mentally prepared because it will not only be a mental battle but also a physical one.
“He can chew and get in your ear and try to get in your head, so you just have to be mentally strong and also know that you have to be physically strong too, because he’s going to try to be physical with you in the line and also in the field”.
rhodes, named to the first of three pro bowls in 2016, also had an interception after beckham cut a deep route and crossed to quarterback eli manning.
rhodes, then 26, offered this postgame evaluation.
“He tries to get to you by climbing on you, fighting you, trying to knock you off your game,” rhodes said. “He’s a very quick and elusive player, so he can get out of his breaks pretty quickly. you have to be patient and stay on top of it. he can do both (talk to you and push you). there’s no telling what you get from it. he is a great player. ”
Beckham, then 23, was becoming known for his emotional outbursts when he wasn’t making big plays. The week before that game against Rhodes, Beckham took out his frustrations in a web of sidekicks.
they ended up being nfc teammates at the orlando pro bowl a few months later in 2017 and seemed to get along great.
who knows what happens on Sunday, but it should be interesting to watch.
(Phillip B. Wilson has covered the Indianapolis Colts for more than two decades and is the author of the 2013 book 100 Things Colts Fans Should Know and Do Before You Die. He is on Twitter @pwilson24, at facebook at @allcoltswithphilb and @100thingscoltsfans and his email is email@example.com).