THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Like many of his fellow veteran teammates, Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been asked about his journey to Super Bowl LVI in some form or fashion.
The last four years have provided plenty of perspective.
"It's been tough. It's a been a rough – since 2017, shattering your ankle, busting your ass, coming back time and time again and things just never went the way that I would like," Beckham said during a video conference with reporters on Saturday. "Like I keep talking about, it was just that faith, staying down, staying prayed up, never doubting or not believing in yourself, that makes this very special for me to have an opportunity to play in a Super Bowl. You sacrifice it all just for these moments."
As Beckham alluded to, he had dealt with his fair share of obstacles prior to signing with the Rams in early November.
In 2017, a fractured left ankle prematurely ended his season after just four games. Beckham bounced back with consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season in 2018 (his final season with the Giants) and 2019 (his first season with the Browns), only to sustain a torn ACL in Week 7 of the 2020 season against – of all teams – the Bengals, limiting him to just seven games.
In his first six games of the 2021 season – he missed the first two as he completed his recovery from the torn ACL – Beckham had 17 receptions for 232 yards and no touchdowns. His representatives and the Browns later agreed to release him, and he signed with the Rams after going unclaimed on waivers.
In Los Angeles, Beckham posted 27 receptions for 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight regular season games, and has added 19 receptions for 231 yards and one touchdown during L.A.'s playoff run to Super Bowl LVI.
"I mean, playing in the Super Bowl is everything you could have ever dreamed of," Beckham said. "When I was sitting at home, and there was nothing but silence, and it was just me and God just sitting there, this is what came over me. It was Los Angeles Rams, and the opportunity to do exactly what we're doing right now. So it's just pretty crazy to me, just the power of manifestation, belief, faith, all those things, to be exactly where I'm at now, with the opportunity to win a Super Bowl."
When Beckham arrived in Los Angeles, it manifested another vision – he and longtime friend Von Miller teaming up one day.
"It's surreal, man," Miller said during his NFC Championship postgame press conference. "I've been knowing this game for a long time. Definitely put the work in and and off the field."
Some of those obstacles have also involved fighting against inaccurtate perceptions about his character and reputation.
Rams head coach Sean McVay said on Jan. 21 that he's learned that Beckham is consistent in his daily approach and has been a great teammate, loves competing, and is "an incredibly intelligent, smart, funny guy."
"He's checking the boxes in everything," McVay said. "He's been a real joy to be around. I've just continued to learn about him personally, what really is important to him. But, he has been great to be able to work with. That's why I think you have to reserve your judgements for your personal interactions with people. Because he's such a popular figure and he's got such a brand because he's been such an elite player, he's so charismatic and has this presence that I think that can get misunderstood. The biggest thing I would say is he's been incredibly selfless here and been a great teammate. (That is) what has really stood out to me and then he's made plays when he is been asked to. He has done everything that we've asked."
All of that behind him, Beckham is now one win away from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and ready to maximize the opportunity.
"I know the opportunity that's at hand. I don't take it lightly," Beckham said. "And I'm just gonna find a way to give my very best game for one more game."