When Odell Beckham, Jr. found out that he was being traded, the All-Pro wide receiver was caught off-guard. There were even early reports that he wasn’t happy that the New York Giants would trade him after they gave him a long-term contract extension the year prior.
Now that he is up and running with the Cleveland Browns, however—after skipping OTAs—it seems that that is well out of sis system, if it was ever in there in the first place. Beckham was recently in London to help with the launch of an NFL program over there, and he commented on his situation when interviewed.
Speaking with Complex, he was asked, in fairness, specifically if he believed that the trade to the Browns would help him fulfill his potential. “I can’t wait to get going. I just felt with the Giants I was just stuck at a place that wasn’t working for me anymore”, he said.
“I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to reach my full potential there; mentally, physically, spiritually, everything I felt capable of doing, I just couldn’t see it happening there”, Beckham went on. “So I think allowing me to be in an environment where I can be myself and give it a different approach, I feel like my football will benefit. I’m just excited about being able to play football again and not have to deal with all the other stuff and politics that came with my previous role”.
The former first-round pick, of course, spent the entirety of his career up until now playing in the New York market while with the Giants, which obviously comes with a lot of celebrity but also a lot of scrutiny. Every action is weighed heavily in the public eye, and truth be told, he didn’t always handle that well.
Ironically, he is now going to one of the most talked-about and hyped teams in the league right now in the Browns, after they went 7-9-1 last season—5-3 in the second half of the year—following changes made that included a couple of firings and Freddie Kitchens taking over the offense, letting Baker Mayfield loose.
Beckham was their big offseason acquisition, for which they paid the price of first- and third-round picks and starting a starting safety. The thinking is that Beckham addition into the offense, with Mayfield’s natural progression as well, will take the team to new heights. The Browns are favored by many to win the division, and Mayfield is even in the early discussion for league MVP.
Will Beckham actually reach his potential in Cleveland? At the very least, I think it’s fair to say that Mayfield is a better quarterback than Eli Manning at this stage of his career, so I can definitely see him being able to put up better numbers than in recent years.