Everyone seems to be talking about Odell Beckham Jr. these days, and if Beckham somehow fails to toe the line following his sit-down with Giants owner John Mara, Tiki and Ronde Barber will have to talk about it when they are in the FOX booth together for the first time alongside Kenny Albert as the Giants try to keep their season alive Sunday against the Buccaneers.
“You have to approach it by assuming that the — not ultimatum — but ‘You have to get this under control. Or else,’ ” Tiki told The Post. “That’s how the Maras used to do things. I’m assuming that’s the way they still do things, that he’s on a short leash. And obviously you want to be cognizant of the fact that he’s the best player on the field for the Giants. But he also can’t be a liability for the Giants.”
Ronde said he hopes he and his twin brother won’t have to focus on another Beckham controversy.
“That’s not a story unless it’s a story in our game,” Ronde told The Post. “That’s a story for last week, thankfully, and hopefully. He’s an immensely talented kid, man. He’s fun to watch. I struggle to find somebody even to compare him to, some of the things that he does and is able to do.”
Tiki has a comparison.
“He’s got a little bit of Steve Smith in him,” he said. “He’s got an attitude, but he’s also fast and dynamic.He’s a small kid, but it doesn’t affect how he plays, and that’s exactly how Steve Smith was.”
Asked for his opinion on Beckham impersonating a dog during his touchdown celebration, Tiki said: “It was classless, but what are you gonna do about it? He’s Odell, and he wanted to make a point. I don’t know if it was communicated well, but he wanted to make a point. You tolerate it because he’s phenomenal.”
Tiki and Ronde recognize that the broadcast is not about them.
“I have completely objective eyes, and I’m calling a football game,” Ronde said. “The fact that I have my twin in the booth with me is not gonna change that for me. It’s a novelty, right? This has never happened before. I’m sure there’ll be times where our producer will put something together, and it’ll be the Tiki and Ronde minute. But at the end of the day, we’re still doing a football game. It’s the 2017 Buccaneers versus the 2017 Giants.”
After an illustrious 16-year career as a cornerback with the Bucs, Ronde joined FOX Sports as a color analyst following his retirement in 2013. After an illustrious 10-year career as a running back with the Giants, Tiki is a CBS Sports Radio morning host with Brandon Tierney.
“Ronde’s very X’s and O’s oriented,” Tiki said. “It’s what made him so good and why he played so well. Whereas my broadcasting experience as an opinion giver has taken me in a completely different mindset.”
They expect to feed well off each other.
“Tiki is very direct,” Ronde said. “He’s extremely intelligent. He’s not afraid to show that. He can’t help but show it. Some people think it’s an act — 20 years we were in the same bedroom. The guy is cerebral, and it comes across that way. He’s very insightful. I think you’ll see that.
“I’m a little more loose. A lot more loose,” he said with a laugh. “I just kinda let it rip. A lot of times I have a thought, and I don’t really judge the consequences of that thought until after I said it. Tiki’s a little more prepared in what he’s gonna say. Tiki’s a little more polished.”
The twins have game-planned for any potential fly in the broadcast ointment.
“We sound somewhat similar, but our cadence is a little bit different. His voice is maybe a little bit deeper than mine,” Tiki said. “So you should be able to tell the difference, but you might not be able to tell the difference. I was asking Ronde, ‘How will this work?’ He said, ‘You gotta say things like, ‘When I was with the Giants, and then get to your point, otherwise people won’t know who’s talking.’ ”
Ronde, naturally is more familiar with the Buccaneers.
“They’re an ascending team,” he said. “But they still need to figure out how to be a complete football team.”
With an ascending quarterback in Jameis Winston.
“Like his game, and then, I cringe at his game sometimes, because he wants to make every throw, and he’s not afraid to throw the ball downfield in tight places because he’s supremely confident in himself, and then that confidence is why he’s been so successful at such a young age, but it also gets him in trouble sometimes,” Tiki said.
Tiki calls his perceived rift with Eli Manning “grossly overblown” over his comment about his former teammate’s “comical leadership” and is looking forward to seeing him at the Saturday evening production meeting.
“He knows what my intent was and it wasn’t malice,” Tiki said. “In fact, I’ve been one of his biggest supporters if you actually listen to the things I say as opposed of things that I believe.
“It wasn’t meant to be, ‘he’s a joke,’ but more ‘he’s a joker.’ ”
Buccaneers linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander could be out.
“I think the chance to fix the run game could happen this week, and if they fix the run game, then obviously Eli has a much better shot getting the ball downfield to his playmakers,” Tiki said.
“Honestly, though, I don’t think they’re that far away. You see big plays available — they’re just missing.”
The FOX booth becomes a Barber Shop on Sunday.
“Three-man booths are bizarre anyway,” Ronde said, and laughed. “But to have him right next to me? This one’s gonna be very interesting.”
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