The Cleveland Browns will be missing Odell Beckham Jr. for the rest of the season, but will have some help filling the void withKhaDarel Hodge coming off injured reserve on Saturday.
The Browns activated Hodge after he missed three games with a hamstring issue. With the new rules in place this year, a player going on injured reserve is allowed to return after missing only three games, and teams may return an unlimited number of players from injured reserve throughout the year. Hodge was hurt while warming up for the game against the Cowboys.
#Browns have activated WR KhaDarel Hodge from IR (hamstring). In 3 games, had 3 catches for 51 yards.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) October 31, 2020
Hodge was functioning as the Browns No. 3 wide receiver before going down, behind Beckham and Landry. Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones, who are coming off strong performances last week, were previously inactive before the injury to Hodge. There are some questions on how Hodge will reintegrate into the offseason with those two coming on strong, but he’ll be welcomed back with open arms with Beckham now out.
“I would say still to be determined,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We will see how practice goes, but I do anticipate that he will be available on Sunday.”
Hodge has just three receptions on six targets this season, but he’s played at least 50 percent of the offensive snaps when active. He was signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2018, playing his college ball at Prairie View A&M.
Group Effort to Replace Odell Beckham Jr. for Browns
Beckham wasn’t putting up Pro Bowl numbers this season with 23 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns. But his presence on the field at a threat cannot be understated, being someone the opposing defense always needed to account for.
“It sucks. You never want to lose guys,” Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield told reporters this week. “You especially do not want to lose them for that long. I just know how much he cares about the game and how much he cares about trying to win. It sucks for us, but you hurt even more just for him. No fun, but we have to be able to have guys step up and try and fill that void. Like Kevin (Stefanski) said, it is not going to be a one-man job. It is going to take multiple people fill that.”
Mayfield is coming off what is likely his best game as a pro. After Beckham exited with the injury on the first drive of the game, Mayfield set the franchise record for completions and tossed five touchdowns. He showed strong chemistry with his long-time target Higgins, who came up with a career-high 110 yards and a score.
“At the end of the day, I had to work for everything I ever got,” Higgins said. “If I had to work to get in this position, I am going to do it. Here I am. To God give the glory. I can’t be thankful for enough. I am going to keep working, keep putting my head down, not get too big-headed on myself and just keep working. The sky is the limit.”
Browns Could be Buyers at Trade Deadline
The trade deadline is fast approaching, and the Browns could end up filling Beckham’s shoes with a move. John Ross, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Kenny Stills have all been names mentioned as trade targets for WR-needy teams at the deadline.