The Cleveland Browns kick off their highly-anticipated season on Sunday at Kansas City and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to be on the field.
However, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski sounded anything but certain about Beckham being ready to go for the opener. Asked if there was any update on Friday about Beckham beyond being designated a questionable, Stefanski responded, “Not really.”
Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry gave a similar, cryptic answer when it came to Beckham’s status this week.
“Listen, he’s going at his pace. We all here support him. We all here can’t wait to see the things he’s been working on,” Landry said. “He’s been a guy that has been struck with a lot of hardships from the injury perspective.”
So will he be on the field against the Chiefs?
“We’ll see,” Landry told reporters.
Stefanski later responded with a little more detail into what will go into the decision.
“I think he was limited today so we will use the next 48 hours with all of these guys and determine who is playing and who is not. We will let you know 90 minutes before the game,” Stefanski said. “I think for all of these guys that were limited at practice, we will make sure that we huddle up over the next 48 hours and make decisions.”
Beckham Among Five Questionable Players for Browns
Beckham joins safety Ronnie Harrison (ankle), defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (illness), kicker Chase McLaughlin (hamstring) and center JC Tretter (knee) in the injury report as questionable players.
While Beckham carries the questionable tag, it should be noted that there is a widely assumed expectation that Beckham will suit up, even if he doesn’t get the full complement of WR1 reps. Beckham has not played in the preseason and has limited team reps in practice.
“At this point, we’re just running our race,” Beckham said in late-July. “I feel like in the past, I’ve been caught up in this question. I’m not really here for it anymore. Whenever I’m ready to get out on the field, that’s when it will be. Whenever the team, the docs, my team, gets cleared, we’ll be ready to go. Whenever that is, Week 1, Week 17, I don’t know. Whenever we’re ready, we’ll be ready.”
Beckham played in just seven games last year before suffering the season-ending knee injury, recording 23 catches on 43 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
Baker Mayfield Worked With Beckham in Offseason
There’s been some major scuttlebutt about how the Browns offense might be better without Beckham — a sentiment everyone in the building has soundly rejected.
Something that did appear to be missing was the chemistry between quarterback Baker Mayfield and Beckham. But that’s not either player’s fault. Beckham has been banged up during his time in Cleveland dating back to two seasons ago, limiting the time he has had to work with Mayfield in practice. However, the two put in some work away from the facility this offseason and even took a preseason trip — with Landry and tight end Austin Hooper — to Yellowstone.
“I think there is always a picture that wants to be portrayed about him. We have talked about it quite a bit,” Mayfield said. “He is a very passionate guy when it comes down to football and competing. He wants to win. He is a guy who once he is in your locker room, you appreciate the passion and drive that he has. There has not been a whole lot of change.”