Odell Beckham Jr. vague about his future in Cleveland

BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – How do you turn one of the most prolific players in the game into a pedestrian receiver?

Put him on the Cleveland Browns.

Now there are questions as to whether Odell Beckham Jr. wants to play in Cleveland in 2020.

“I couldn’t tell you what’s going to happen,” Beckham said Thursday. “I couldn’t sit here and tell you whether I’m going to be here, want to be here, don’t want to be here. This is exactly where I’m at now, and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

“God has a plan, and in the offseason, everything will figure itself out.”

The Browns acquired Beckham, who has four years and $60.5 million with roster and workout bonuses left on his contract, in March from the New York Giants in a blockbuster trade that shook the NFL world.

The addition of Beckham was supposed to turn the Browns into a juggernaut. Now there are questions about the receiver’s future, again.

“I feel like I’ve been here before, asking questions about the next team while I’m on a team already,” Beckham said. “That’s just something that I’m just going to tune out right now. Catch me in the offseason and we’ll see what happens.”  

Beckham was once one of the best and most prolific wideouts in the game, but in 2019 he’s been relegated to average at best under offensive coordinator Todd Monken and head coach Freddie Kitchens.

“Ultimately, what fixes everything is winning,” Beckham said.

Aside from the team’s 5-7 record, the use of Beckham has been the most shockingly disappointing developments of the season. It’s also a major contributing factor to why the Browns enter this week’s game against the Bengals with their playoff hopes on life support.

“He really just wants to win when it comes to it,” quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has struggled this season, said. “Anytime you are losing, it is frustrating, and it is not fun so he wants to help out in any way he can, so we have to try and find ways to get him the ball.

“There have been a few things that are off here and there or else we would have some bigger plays and a lot more connections.”

To Beckham’s credit, he’s kept whatever frustration he’s felt quiet, contrary to the reputation he had in New York while with the Giants.

“Odell has done everything we have asked him to do,” Kitchens said. “He has been no problem at all. Different situations are different for different people. and Odell has been a good teammate.”

It hasn’t been easy for Beckham, who became as known for his outbursts with the Giants as his one-handed catches.

“It’s definitely been a concerted effort from me to keep myself in check,” Beckham said. “I know that everyone watching… they want to see me mad or throw a helmet or punch a cooler or hug a kicking net or hit the kicking net. They want to see those things but it’s on me and I’ve made that effort and that decision and that choice to just not allow that, no matter what.”

Beckham is second behind Jarvis Landry in catches and receiving yardage this season for the Browns. The three-time Pro Bowler has 57 catches and 805 yards but just two touchdowns. His 103 targets are a career-low through 12 games played but his 14.1 yards-per-reception average this year ranks third among his six seasons.

“I’m going to get 1,000 yards,” Beckham said. “And this is a bad year. I tell people, you talk about 1,000 yards, that’s the minimum, that’s the starting point. If you 1,500 yards, then I only had 500 yards this season. 1,000, there’s no question. It takes 62 yards a game to get 1,000 over 16 games. That’s nothing.”

Beckham averaged 106 catches for 1,485 yards with 12 touchdowns over 16 games with the Giants. He is on pace for a 76 catch, 1,073 yard and three touchdowns season this year, his first with Cleveland.

Beckham rarely sees the ball in the red zone, and that is a major problem.

The Browns might be the only team in the league who just don’t bother to throw the ball in the direction of their best player in critical situations, as evidenced by Beckham’s zero scores inside the 20 where he has one catch on seven targets for 7 yards this year.

Beckham almost sounded resigned to not being able to score in this offense while clinging to the little hope that remains to achieve at least one goal.

“As far as touchdowns and other stats, I don’t see that happening,” Beckham said. “And right now, that’s not really what’s important.

“I just care about winning and hopefully getting a shot to go to the playoffs – the wildest Wild Card or whatever. If they just let us in there. That’s the goal.”