CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns are in the process of releasing Odell Beckham Jr., cutting him from the roster at the end of a tumultuous week for the wide receiver and the team.
“After careful consideration, internal discussions and conversations with Odell and his representation, we’ve determined that it is in the best interest of all parties involved that Odell no longer play for the Cleveland Browns. We appreciate all his efforts and contributions while in Cleveland, but we’ve just reached a point where it is best that we move forward as a team without Odell. We are finalizing the process of granting Odell his release and we wish him well as he continues his career.” -Statement from Browns EVP of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry on Odell Beckham Jr.
Today is the wide receiver's 29th birthday.
Beckham was excused from practice this week, listed on the team's pre-practice injury report as out with a "shoulder/non-injury related personal matter."
“I would just tell you today he’s excused and we’ll see where this goes,” said head coach Kevin Stefanski said earlier in the week. “[Browns general manager] Andrew Berry and his representatives are continuing to talk, so for today Odell with not be out there.”
And now he's gone. In three seasons, the oft-injured receiver played just 29 games, gaining 1,682 total yards and scoring eight touchdowns.
“I'd say it's disappointing. Obviously, unfortunate how it all went down, but I wish him well,” Stefanski said Friday. "It's unfortunate how it happened. I think it's unfortunate for both sides, but we have to move on and put our focus on this game versus Cincinnati.”
On Monday, Beckham's dad took to Instagram, sharing an 11-minute compilation video of moments his son appeared to be open but wasn't passed to by Baker Mayfield. Beckham's dad was also active in the comments, agreeing with some speculation that Mayfield was intentionally missing Odell Beckham Jr.
Hours after Beckham's dad posted on Instagram and social media was buzzing with opinions, NBA superstar LeBron James weighed in on it, as did Damian Lillard and Dez Bryant, among others.
The rumblings came two days after a Browns loss to the Steelers that saw Beckham get just two targets. His one reception for six yards marked a career-low for the wide receiver.
"Sad to see him go. Good guy, good character, good player. He’s always done right by me. He’ll come out regardless of where he is. Just want the best for him. If it doesn’t work here, hope it works somewhere else. I know there’s no hard feelings towards the people here. He had to keep on working to get back to the player he was before," said Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.
Garrett said he spoke to Beckham, who he said was disappointed in the outcome, but said he didn't have any idea Beckham wanted to be out of Cleveland before the recent incident.
"He didn't make that known to me. Obviously he was frustrated. We knew he wanted the ball more, everybody knew he wanted the ball more. That's not mistaken by anybody. But he never said anything about wanting a trade earlier this year, at least not to me. Upper management? I don't know," Garrett said.
Beckham was acquired by the Browns in 2019, in a trade with the New York Giants.
Then-general manager John Dorsey sent Jabrill Peppers, Kevin Zeitler, and the Browns' first- and third-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft to New York in exchange for Beckham and Olivier Vernon.
In his first season with the Browns, Beckham played in 16 games with 74 receptions for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns.
Last year, Beckham played in seven games before tearing his ACL in a game against the Bengals. The receiver underwent surgery to repair the tear and spent the entire offseason rehabbing to get back on the field with his team—a team that made their first playoff appearance in 17 seasons and got their first playoff win in 26 years.
Through this year’s training camp, Beckham seemed to be gearing up for an explosive return, showing off his crisp cuts and agility in drills, showcasing his innate ability to make absurd catches and having fun with his teammates each day.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, the preseason experience didn’t translate into the regular season games.
Through the six games he played with the Browns this year, Beckham only totaled 17 receptions, with 34 targets, for 232 yards and no touchdowns to show for it.
Beckham returned from his ACL injury in Week 3, but suffered a shoulder injury in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals and despite being limited in practice, hasn’t missed a game.
His production this season was not something he, nor his family, was happy with, as made clear on social media Tuesday—but the drama and chaos initiated by the Beckham shenanigans was irreparable.
Now, without Beckham, the Browns will move on with Mayfield as their quarterback and one less receiver on the roster. It won’t be easy to put a situation as toxic and high-profile as this one behind them, but they’ll attempt to as they focus on their Sunday game against the Bengals.
“We work really hard in this building to concern ourselves with things that are going on in this building and concern ourselves with the Cincinnati Bengals and that’s really where we’re laser focused on the task at hand,” Stefanski said.
Garrett said while Beckham was a good presence in the locker room, his teammates will have to step to fill the void in his absence.
"Hoping there's not much drop off. I know he was a leader, he was a positive figure in the locker room. He worked hard. But we gotta have someone fill that role whether it's Baker taking another step, whether it's Jarvis taking that role, another receiver, O-lineman. Whoever it is, we need someone to step up to fill that void that he left. I feel like we have guys who can do that, they just have to find it within themselves," Garrett said.
Where Beckham ends up next is anyone's guess. Once he goes on waivers, any team can claim him.
- Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. excused from practice day after social media debacle
- 'I want Odell to succeed': Browns QB Baker Mayfield addresses situation with Odell Beckham Jr.
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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