Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. tore his ACL in Week 7 of the 2020 regular season, in late October. He was hoping to make his return for the start of the 2021 regular season, but that did not happen. He has already been ruled out for the team’s upcoming game on Sunday against the Houston Texans.
“I’m going to hold out Odell this week”, second-year Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the veteran receiver’s status. “That’s how I want to handle it this week. I talked to Odell about it. This is my decision and felt like it was the right thing this week”.
The Browns left Beckham as a game-time decision on Sunday, wanting to see how he looked and felt during pre-game warmups. Reportedly, Beckham said that he felt he could only give a limited number of snaps, and Stefanski wanted to see more.
Once unambiguously regarded as one of the top wide receivers in football, injuries have defined Beckham’s career for the past few years. While he did manage to catch 74 passes for 1,035 yards, with only four touchdowns, for Cleveland in 2019 when he was first acquired, he played even that entire season through a groin injury that requires post-season surgery.
Counting next week, he will now have missed 27 games since the start of the 2017 season, after missing only five games (including the first four of his rookie season) over the course of his first three years in the league. He was a Pro Bowler in each of those years, but his health has not allowed him to make it back there.
Still, he commanded a hefty price tag via trade when Cleveland added him in 2019. They sent the New York Giants first- and third-round draft choices, as well as young starting safety and former first-round draft pick Jabril Peppers.
By any measure, I think it would be fair to say that the Browns have not gotten their return on investment on that trade, but there is little you can do when you tear your ACL but focus on your recovery.
Beckham has been updating his own rehab status throughout the offseason, and there’s no question that he has been dedicated to getting himself back on the field. It’s just that his body isn’t quite ready yet. It should be soon.
Everybody’s body heals at a different pace, and every injury is different. That’s why Devin Bush was able to return and play at full speed in week one for the Steelers this year while Zach Banner, who tore his ACL a month earlier, is spending at least the first few weeks of the year on the Reserve/Injured List.