Without saying much, Cleveland Browns star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has found himself at the center of some familiar controversy as rumors swirl about his future with the team he was traded to in the offseason.
Beckham set off some alarms with a cryptic press conference last week while talking about his future, and since, multiple reports have surfaced saying that he’s unhappy and wants out of town.
But the people in the building in Berea tell a different story. Quarterback Baker Mayfield addressed the rumors about his No. 1 wide receiver on Wednesday while speaking to reporters.
“I can’t answer that for him,” Mayfield said. “There are all the rumors going around, but I have had my conversations with him and I know what we talk about so I trust him wholeheartedly.”
Baker Mayfield: Odell Beckham Wants to Be Part of ‘Solution’ for Browns
Mayfield also mentioned Beckham’s injury concerns, which also came to light this week. Beckham has not revealed exactly what he’s dealing with, but reports have pointed to both a sports hernia that would needs surgery, and the nagging groin injury that has limited him during the practice week.
Mayfield has seen OBJ gut it out weekly to get on the field, sending a message to the team about how bad he wants to contribute.
“I would say much like I did on after the game, he is fighting through pain,” Mayfield said. “It shows you how much he really wants to win. The things that I have continuously said about him, he wants to be the solution to help us. It is the same message.”
Beckham has 59 catches for 844 yards and still has a chance to break 1,000 yards fifth time in his career. However, he’s coming off his third two-catch game of the season and has broken 100 yards on just two occasions this season. Beckham has 46 career receiving touchdowns, but just two have come this season.
Beckham has tried to quiet the noise around his alleged feelings, but it has done little to slow down the rumor mill.
Browns Head Coach Freddie Kitchens Addresses Odell Beckham Reports
Browns first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens has been careful to address rumors around his boisterous squad this season, but spoke up on what has consumed his team this week.
“Odell and my relationship is fine,” Kitchens said while addressing reporters on Monday. “Odell and (wide receivers coach) Adam’s (Henry) relationship is fine. I am sorry I do not think there is like any ‘gotcha’ moment here. I can only tell you what I think and what I have seen from Odell, and what I have seen from Odell is nothing like the reports indicate.”
The Browns 6-7 campaign has been marred by controversy, disappointment and drama, but Kitchens believes his team has done a good job of tuning out the noise.
“Listen, I am being serious with you, I think our guys have done a tremendous job this year of blocking out the ‘almost’ or the ‘what ifs’ or the ‘I heard’ or whatever,” Kitchens said. “They come to work every day, and everything here stays in here and they try to block out the outside noise. I think they have done a great job of that.”
The Browns face the 3-7 Arizona Cardinals this week. Cleveland is a 2.5-point favorite for the contest.