The Cleveland Browns’ ‘blockbuster’ trade for wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. last offseason had pundits seeing a bright future for the perennial bottomfeeders, but they ending up sitting at their usual table in the NFL cafeteria. With over a decade of consecutive losing seasons under their belt, will 2020 finally be the year that changes things?
You may not be surprised to hear that they think so. That includes Beckham, who didn’t exactly have a good time last year. For one thing, he was caught off-guard by being traded. Then he dealt with a groin injury all through last season that limited him and required offseason surgery.
To top it all off, it became abundantly obvious that he wasn’t very happy with head coach Freddie Kitchens, and reportedly was telling players from other teams to tell their coaches to trade for him prior to the deadline. Subsequently, he refused during interviews to commit to being in Cleveland in 2020.
Since then, however, the organization has seen a ton of turnover, including Kevin Stefanski replacing Kitchens as head coach, and at least so far, they seem to have a good relationship, having already met and discussed things several times.
“Just seeing the things that he did and meeting him and seeing where his mind’s at for Jarvis [Landry] and myself of how this will all work out, I have a good feeling about it”, the wide receiver said about his meetings with Stefanski.
Last season, both wide receiver did manage to put up over 1000 receiving yards, combining for 10 touchdowns between them. Statistically, it was the least efficient season of Beckham’s career, but he puts a lot of that on his health.
“I just couldn’t move the way that I wanted to, so I think that’s why I’m more motivated now than ever”, he said about playing through the groin injury “This is probably Day 9 or 10 after surgery and I’m just starting to move around and just mentally get ready for the process all over again, and just put my best foot forward”.
After being cryptic in multiple interviews about whether or not he was interested in returning to the Browns this season or if he might try to force the team’s hand to trade him away, he now seems more resolved that this is his team, and perhaps it feels more like it now, considering how much has changed in the past month and a half.
“We were so close last year, but yet so far away, and it shows you how being so close can land you from 10-6 to 6-10”, he said. It’s really a game of inches. So it’s just little things we need to correct. I’m excited about the opportunity, excited to work on it”.