The Cleveland Browns will face Odell Beckham Jr. for the first time since their tumultuous split in 2021.
The Browns hit the road Sunday to face the Baltimore Ravens in an important AFC North matchup. After a year off while recovering from a second serious knee injury, Beckham signed a one-year, $15 million contract with the Ravens this offseason.
Beckham endured a difficult few years in Cleveland after being traded from the Giants in 2019, managing just 114 catches for 1,586 yards in 29 games. After the ugly ending, Beckham signed with the Rams and was a key contributor during their Super Bowl run.
The breakup with Beckham wasn’t pretty, but the polarizing pass catcher harbors no hard feelings.
“No. I mean, I made great bonds and memories with the guys over there.” Beckham said: according to the Ravens’ official website. “Once you’re on a team, you build a brotherhood that lasts much longer than anything else.
“I don’t want to say, ‘Oh, this is another game for me,’ but it will be fun to play against these guys who are friends and brothers of mine.” But certainly no animosity on my part. Lots of love and respect.”
Beckham missed the first game of the season in early October with an ankle injury. The Ravens won that game 28-3.
Browns are considering signing Odell Beckham in the offseason
The Browns considered bringing Beckham back this offseason, a sign that the team had also put its history behind it. However, the Browns went a different route and acquired Elijah Moore via trade and signed the experienced Marquise Goodwin.
“The Browns have had a great relationship with Beckham since his controversial departure in 2021 and he was on their radar at the start of the league year. “They were even one of a dozen teams that attended his practice in Arizona on March 10,” Brown’s Insider said Mary Kay Cabot from Cleveland.com wrote on March 28th.
The Browns weren’t willing to offer that to Beckham a whopping $15 million plus incentives the Ravens came to the table with. And while the Browns’ passing game hasn’t been great this season, signing Beckham wouldn’t have changed much. The Browns’ problems stem from inconsistencies at the quarterback position, with Deshaun Watson out for more than a month with a rotator cuff strain.
Browns defenders respect Odell Beckham
Beckham is far from the game-changing receiver he once was, but he appears to be progressing well with the Ravens. In seven games this season he has 19 catches for 218 yards. Beckham caught his first touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks last week
“I try to be realistic with myself because I know my expectations are much higher than just a touchdown,” Beckham said this week. “It feels good. I worked really hard to get back on the field and make a catch. The goal has always been to score touchdowns but at the same time keep the mindset that it’s just one week and find ways to get better.”
Beckham still has some fans in the Browns’ locker room, including his former teammate Denzel Ward, who may occasionally have the duty of covering Beckham.
“He looks good,” Ward said on November 9th. “Odell, he’s a great receiver. He was always a great receiver and could make a lot of plays for those guys, great hands, great routes. He’s a great player, so he’ll be a challenge for us as well, as well as all of their receivers and their entire team.”
The Browns have the sixth-best offense in the league with 26.6 points per game.
JR DeGroote covers the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Lakers for Heavy.com. As a reporter for West Hawaii Today, he covered local and national sports and has decades of digital media experience with previous stints at SB Nation and Bleacher Report. He has won multiple state, regional and national awards for sports reporting and photography. More about JR DeGroote
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