Instagram and Twitter don’t make situations better, but they can definitely make them more entertaining
Never forget, this union between wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and the Cleveland Browns is an arranged marriage. Remember Beckham said before his first season with the Browns that he thought the Giants trading him there was not business but personal, “They thought they’d send me here to die.”
Nearly halfway through his third season in Cleveland, Beckham is having the worst year of his career that wasn’t shortened by injury. He has 17 catches for 232 yards, no touchdowns, and his yards per reception is the second-lowest of his career — 13.6. In the Browns’ Week 8, 15-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Beckham had one reception for six yards — his only target of the game. Beckham’s father could no longer keep his silence about this relationship, and shared an 11-minute video showing how many times his son was open Weeks 3-6 and quarterback Baker Mayfield was not able to get him the ball.
The post went viral and was noticed by other professional athletes. Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lilliard, another struggling superstar, put in the comment section “This crazy…” Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James didn’t comment on Beckham’s father’s post, but received eye emojis across social media when the *wink* noted Cleveland Browns fan sent out a tweet with the hashtag #FreeOBJ.
If Beckham is frustrated with this season in Cleveland, he is doing a much better job of concealing his feelings. There have been no spiked helmets or fights with practice nets. Beckham shouldn’t have even been expected to have a great 2021 season. He tore his left ACL just over one year ago.
However, the discussion about Mayfield and Beckham’s lack of a connection was happening last season prior to the injury. This season it’s worse and so are the Browns, who at 4-4 are last place in the AFC North after entering the year on the short-list of Super Bowl contenders. With the season falling apart, we have fathers sharing videos and Mayfield’s wife liking tweets that defend her husband’s play in spite of the Browns’ struggles.
The Browns have turned their franchise around after two decades of irrelevance, but with a promising young roster that includes a superstar, who at one time was putting up stats that rivaled Randy Moss and Jerry Rice, comes expectations. When those expectations aren’t met, it can make for an unpleasant work environment.
No changes are happening today, as ESPN’s Diana Russini is reporting that the Browns have no plans to trade Beckham before today’s 4 p.m. EST trade deadline, but included in that tweet that the Browns didn’t get an offer that they liked.
This arranged marriage can still work, but it depends on if Beckham wants to make it work. The numbers are better for Mayfield with him off the field, but they did have success in their first season together, 2019, with Beckham catching 74 passes for 1,035 yards and averaging 14 yards per reception — his best since 2016. Since then the Browns had a coaching change, they’ve both battled injuries, and planet earth was struck by a pandemic. This season, the injury bug has gone around the entire team.
The situation is salvageable if that Instagram post was simply a frustrated father that loves his son. But if that post is a frustrated father because of a frustrated son, then this arranged union could be annulled in 2022.