Odell Beckham Jr. and the Cleveland Browns have seemingly reached a crossroads. On Wednesday, the veteran receiver was excused from practice in a move reportedly spearheaded by the Browns brass that could very well be a permanent maneuver for the foreseeable future as they try to figure out their next steps. This decision comes in the aftermath of the team reportedly looking to move him prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline and following Beckham’s father ripping quarterback Baker Mayfield in a video posted onto social media for failing to target his son.
In the comments section of the video, Beckham Sr. added more fuel to the flames saying Mayfield was “either hating on Odell or he just doesn’t want him shining.” He also replied with “#bigfacts” to a post calling Mayfield mediocre.
“Naturally, he wants his son to succeed. I can’t blame him for that,” Mayfield told reporters Wednesday when asked about the video, via ESPN. “I want Odell to succeed. That’s where we were at — or at least so I thought.”
Mayfield admitted to being stunned by Beckham Sr.’s comments and added that he hasn’t heard from Beckham Jr. since the video was posted. He also said that he spoke to Jarvis Landry — Beckham’s closest friend on the team — about the incident, but they “didn’t get into too many details because I do not want to draw that line in between them at all.”
According to Michael Silver of Bally Sports, head coach Kevin Stefanski told his players that Beckham is effectively not on the team right now. CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora noted that Cleveland is not willing to waive him and appears “willing to burn a 53-man roster spot just for him to stay away.”
“Unfortunately, this is a part of the job that’s not much fun,” Mayfield said when talking about getting ready to face the Bengals in Week 9 amid this off-field drama. “You want to try and eliminate the distractions and everything, but trying to get the best out of your teammates is first and foremost, and I think the most important thing for me is trying to elevate the guys around me. Being able to get the focus back on football is extremely important. This is something that’s very unique.
“There’s not a manual for this one. There’s not a handbook on how to navigate this besides talk to people, see how they are feeling about it and just keep it open because this is one of those things that, like everybody can see, it can be a dividing thing or it can be a rallying cry.”
Despite Beckham’s absence at the moment, Mayfield did seem open to the possibility of working through this issue.
“If he’s back, then we’ll work through it and do whatever it takes,” Mayfield said. “I can put my ego and pride to the side to win. Because that’s all I care about is winning. If not, then we’ll roll with the guys we have out there. And those guys will know that I completely trust them, and they’ll know that I’m always here for them, and that’s the leader and the type of quarterback I am.”
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