The belief as of late was that the Cleveland Browns would have both Odell Beckham Jr. and Duke Johnson when mandatory minicamp got underway. Fortunately, that proved to be true, although the duo kept Browns fans a bit on edge, arriving just prior to the action getting underway.
As Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com reported, Beckham and Johnson arrived on the eve of minicamp, but appear ready to go.
Minicamp begins for the Browns on June 4 and runs over the span of three days. The concern over Beckham specifically missing OTAs in May drew plenty of attention, and some of it stemmed from comments made by head coach Freddie Kitchens.
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Odell Beckham Jr.’s Absence From Browns OTAs
The Browns’ voluntary OTAs were nine days long, and Kitchens offered mixed responses to the decision made by Beckham to remain primarily absent from the action. As NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman reported, Kitchens was asked about his goals for Beckham at minicamp, to which he responded he just wants “to see him.”
This came after the coach said that Beckham missed “a lot,” but previously appeared to be somewhat unphased by the star receiver not attending, per NFL.com’s Kevin Patra.
“There’s no problem with Odell not being here,” Kitchens said earlier this month. “I’d rather him be here. He’s not here. It’s voluntary. That’s what the word voluntary means. He can decide to come or he can’t.
“But under no circumstance am I going to say that I’m pissed off at Odell for not being here. He’ll be ready to play and ultimately that’s the only thing I want, for him to be ready to play when we start kicking off in September and he will be — I promise you.”
Odell Beckham Jr. Trade & Duke Johnson Talks
While the Browns welcomed Odell to town in the form of a blockbuster offseason trade, Johnson finds himself on the other side of things. Cleveland sent the No. 17 overall pick, a third-round selection and safety Jabrill Peppers to the New York Giants in exchange for Beckham, adding to the plethora of offensive weapons for Baker Mayfield.
The deal also meant Beckham was paired back up with his LSU teammate and friend Jarvis Landry, adding to the many storylines surrounding the Browns prior to the 2019 season.
As far as Johnson goes, the running back situation became even more crowded this offseason, making a trade likely for the fifth-year running back. Johnson, who was drafted in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, tallied his fewest rushing attempts and receptions in a single season last year.
The emergence of Nick Chubb, who’s heading into year two, along with the addition of Kareem Hunt has made Johnson a likely trade candidate. As for where he’ll land, that remains to be seen, but it appears he’s opted to take part in mandatory minicamp even with no clear-cut answer on the immediate horizon.