So much of the Cleveland Browns’ predicted success in 2019 was predicated upon the advancements in the passing game, with the growth of second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield, and the infusion of a top-flight talent with the acquisition of wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. Cleveland gave up first- and third-round picks, and a starting safety who was a first-round pick himself, in order to get him.
He went on to catch 74 passes for 1035 yards and four touchdowns, not exactly the sort of production you would associate with a transcendent talent in the passing game. Two of his four touchdowns came in the final two games of the season, both in losing efforts, by double digits each.
But the former first-team All-Pro also spent the entire 2019 season playing through a groin injury. He had that injury surgically repaired this offseason, and he continues to rehabilitate that injury during the pandemic.
Earlier this month, he took to YouTube to talk about the upcoming season, saying, “right now what I’m trying to do is hit the reset button”, referring to his health. “Being able to just get everything fixed. Shoulder, arms, back, everything aligned, functional, moving properly, so I can begin training to be ready for the season”.
By no means was it an unknown that Beckham was dealing with these injuries. It was a big topic during the offseason about how he and Mayfield were unable to work together, and thus get on the same page, because he wasn’t practicing due to the groin injury, and he also talked about his movement being restricted.
He had surgery on January 21, an operation that encompassed both the groin and the hip. He talked about how the original injury only worsened over the course of the year after originally suffering it during the summer.
“So pretty much, I was just f—ed up the whole year. I really didn’t try and say anything about it. Probably one of the worst surgeries I’ve ever had”, he said. “Recovery’s going well. Guess I’m really just trying to put my body back together. I’ve been playing for 23 years, so for me, I’m trying to put it all back together in seven months”.
He added that he feels his health will lead to what is “probably going to be one of my best seasons. Bigger, stronger, faster—this is my time”.
Rumors swirled around Beckham during the 2019 season and his supposed unhappiness. There was a report that he was telling opponents prior to the trade deadline to ‘come get me’, meaning that their team should trade for him.
He didn’t really help to counter those reports with his own public comments, at least at first, but since the end of the season, he made it clearer that he envisions himself part of the Browns’ future. Perhaps firing Freddy Kitchens helped that.