New York Giants co-owner John Mara admitted Sunday that he was reluctant to sign off on the decision to trade wideout Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns earlier this month.
"I will tell you that it was a reluctant approval on my part because I happen to like Odell very much," Mara said from the NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix, his first public comments since the trade. "I recognize the unique talent that he has. It is not easy to trade that player to another team.
"I understand also that we have a lot of holes that we need to fill. If we make the right decisions with the pick and the pick, we obviously like Jabrill Peppers a lot, which filled a need for us. I ultimately gave my 50 percent share of the approval."
The Browns sent the Giants their first-round pick (17th overall), a third-rounder and Peppers, who was drafted 25th overall in 2017, in return for Beckham. General manager Dave Gettleman told reporters last week that it was an offer he "couldn't refuse," despite his previous statement that the team did not sign Beckham to an extension only to trade him.
Odell Beckham Jr. throughout his career
Odell Beckham Jr. throughout his career
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 21, 2017: Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants watches the action from the sideline in the first quarter of a preseason game on April 27, 2017 against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 10-6. (Photo by: 2017 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA - CIRCA 2011-2012: Odell Beckham Jr., #33 wide receiver of the Louisiana State University Tigers football team poses for a head shot at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Steve Franz/Louisiana State University/Getty Images)
MORGANTOWN, W.V. - SEPTEMBER 24, 2011: Odell Beckham Jr, #33 wide receiver of the Louisiana State University Tigers football team runs upfield with the ball during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers on September 24, 2011 at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, Virginia. The Tigers won 47-21. (Photo by Louisiana State University/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 08: Odell Beckham Jr. #3 of the LSU Tigers fields a punt in front of Sean Parker #1 of the Washington Huskies during a game at Tiger Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 26: Odell Beckham Jr. #3 of the LSU Tigers participates in pregame drills prior to a game at Tiger Stadium against the Furman Paladins on October 26, 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. LSU won the game 48-16. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
08 MAY 2014: New York Giants 12th overall pick Odell Beckham Jr holds a Giants Jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the first round at the 2014 NFL Draft. The 2104 NFL Draft was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 19: Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants carries the ball after the catch against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half at AT&T Stadium on October 19, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 09: Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants looks on prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 9, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 01: (L-R) Keke Palmer and Odell Beckham Jr. attend Trey Songz 30th Birthday Celebration at The Lion on December 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
Odell Beckham Jr, New York Giants in action during the New York Giants V San Francisco 49ers, NFL American Football match at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, USA. 16th November 2014. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 07: Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants catches a pass as Jason McCourty #30 of the Tennessee Titans defends during.a NFL game at LP Field on December 7, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 14: Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants celebrates after scoring 10 yard touchdown thrown by Eli Manning #10 in the first quarter against the Washington Redskins during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 14, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 7: Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants warming up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 7, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Giants defeated the Titans 36-7. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 21: Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams during the first quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on December 21, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 31: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. attends the 2015 NFL Honors at Phoenix Symphony Hall on January 31, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 15: NFL player Odell Beckham Jr. (R) accepts the award for Best Play from recording artist Ciara and NBA player Andre Iguodala onstage during The 2015 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 1: Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants looks on during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Giants 52-49. (Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 06: Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants celebrates after scoring a 72 yard long touchdown against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 6, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Football players Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. attend the 12th annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at Spring Studios on November 2, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON- FEBRUARY 14: Odell Beckham Jr. during the 65th NBA All-Star Game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. February 14, 2016. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 03: Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants looks on against the Minnesota Vikings during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 3, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Giants 24-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 27, 2016: Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants catches a pass prior to a game against the Cleveland Browns on November 27, 2016 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. New York won 27-13. (Photo by: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Imges)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 21, 2017: Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants poses for a picture as he walks onto the field prior to a preseason game on April 27, 2017 against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 10-6. (Photo by: 2017 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
With a player of Beckham's prominence -- and less than a year removed from making him the NFL's highest-paid wideout -- the deal had to be approved by Mara and fellow co-owner Steve Tisch.
As Mara and Tisch recounted at a joint news conference Sunday, Gettleman called both men to relay news of the offer, and both had to think about it before ultimately deciding to go through with a deal.
"This was not a decision that was made quickly, without a lot of thought and a lot of conversation discussing with both Dave and [head coach Pat Shurmur] and the impact, what it would mean to the club," Tisch said. "It is a tough decision. One of the toughest we have had to make in a long time. Many, many years."
"It was not easy, that's why it took this long," Mara added. "It took a long time to come to grips with the fact that we were moving him to another team. I just didn't think that was going to happen all winter. I think what we are getting in return will make us better if we make the right decisions."
Mara also acknowledged that Beckham's personality and tendency to make headlines for things not directly related to football played a small part in the decision.
"I had conversations with him about it, but it was never to the point where we said to Dave that he had to get rid of him," Mara said. "It never reached that point. Was it a factor in the final decision? Yes, it is a factor. The thing about him, though, is that it never -- he is a good guy. He did good things with us."
Both owners wished Beckham well in Cleveland, but Mara admitted it will be difficult watching the former Giants first-round pick in another uniform.
"It is not going to be easy, I am not going to lie to you," Mara said. "It won't be easy. He is a great player and I hope he has a great career with the Browns. It makes it a little bit easier that he is not in our conference."