CLEVELAND (AP) – Odell Beckham Jr. runs its final route for the Browns. He is completely open now.
The polarizing wide receiver is released by the Cleveland Browns, who disconnect from Beckham after a dramatic stay that ended with him being told to stay home from training.
Beckham’s unpretentious exit – not entirely official – came on Friday, his 29th birthday, and a few days after his father shared a video on social media highlighting times when Brown’s quarterback Baker Mayfield did not throw passes to the triple Pro Bowler .
It was a turning point in the team’s often unstable relationship with him.
The Browns did not appreciate the video, or that Beckham did not reach out to Mayfield, who said he was willing to settle things.
Beckham was asked not to attend training for two days as his representation worked with Brown general manager Andrew Berry on comfortable financial terms for his departure.
“After careful consideration, internal discussions and discussions with Odell and his representation, we have decided that it is in the best interest of all parties involved that Odell no longer play for the Cleveland Browns,” Berry said in a statement. “We appreciate all of his efforts and contributions while we were in Cleveland, but we’ve just reached a point where it’s best for us to move on as a team without Odell.
“We are nearing the end of the process of giving Odell his release and we wish him the best of luck as he continues his career.”
As soon as the parties agree on financial terms – Beckham owes $ 8 million this season – Beckham will be given up and can be demanded by any team with sufficient space in the salary cap. If he clears the exemption, he will be a free agent and can sign anywhere.
Brown’s coach Kevin Stefanski is scheduled to meet with the media after Friday’s training.
Now that Beckham is gone, the Browns can put their full attention on Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Coincidentally, it was against the Bengals in Week 7 last season when Beckham sustained a knee injury that ended the season.
One of the NFL’s most talented receivers, Beckham has also been one of the most annoying.
He came to Cleveland in great success in 2019 from the New York Giants, who had grown tired of his self-absorbed antics. His arrival at the Browns led to unrealistic expectations in the first season and played a role in the team going 6-10 and undergoing another coaching change.
Although he insisted he was happy in Cleveland, where he was reunited with former college teammate and close friend Jarvis Landry, Beckham did not seem to like not being in a big market. He reportedly told opponents on the field during the pre-match warm-up that they should “come and get me” in the offseason.
Beckham seemed to fall in line last season under Stefanski, but he never got a strong connection to Mayfield on the pitch and their lack of chemistry was a constant topic.
When Beckham fell with his knee injury in October last year, it seemed to free up Mayfield, who played better without the playmaker and led the Browns to their first playoff appearance in 18 seasons and first postseason victory since 1994.
Beckham worked hard to return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament this season, and there was a time when it looked like his relationship with Mayfield and the Browns was finally working. However, he was rarely a big part of the game plan – other than being a decoy – and Beckham was noticeably upset after Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh as he only caught a pass to 6 yards in a 15-10 loss.
The video – along with a tweet from LeBron James saying “OBJ wants to show again why he’s special. WR1 #FreeOBJ” – appeared to be orchestrated by Beckham, and the clearest sign of a breakup was needed.
Beckham, who has been playing with a shoulder sprain for the past few weeks, had 17 catches on 232 yards and zero touchdowns in six games this season. He only had two 100-yard games in 29 with Cleveland.