NFL

Odell Beckham Jr. Taking a Backseat and He’s Just Fine With It

Odell Beckham Jr. has grown up. It doesn’t always have to be about him and he’s realizing that. The Cleveland Browns have turned into a run-first team led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Beckham still poses a threat as the team’s top wide receiver, but he doesn’t have to be the main guy anymore. And he’s just fine with it.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s football career

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Odell Beckham Jr. played his college football at LSU and went on to become a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. The New York Giants selected the 5-foot-11 wide receiver with the 12th overall pick. Despite missing four games in his rookie season, Beckham Jr. still eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark with 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in a Pro Bowl rookie season.

Beckham Jr. proved he was no one-hit-wonder as he made a return trip to the Pro Bowl in 2015 and then again in 2016. In his second year in the NFL, Beckham Jr. had career-highs in both receiving yards (1,450) and touchdowns. During the 2016 season, he posted similar numbers with 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In 2017, Beckham Jr. was limited to four games as he fractured his ankle during the season. He bounced back with another 1,000-yard season in 2018 and then was traded to the Cleveland Browns in March of 2019. In his first season with the Browns, he still cracked the 1,000-yard mark but the team was a disappointing 6-10.

Beckham Jr. has changed his tune

Odell Beckham Jr. has always been the main guy. He’s always one of the most athletic players on the field. He makes the tough catches look easy. Beckham has always been a marked man. His desire to win has always been there. It’s still there, but winning no longer has to go through him.

Beckham Jr. knows the Cleveland Browns have as good a running tandem there is in the NFL in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The Browns have become a ground-heavy team on offense. Quarterback Baker Mayfield and Beckham Jr. no longer have to carry the burden of playing extremely well for the Browns to win. Beckham Jr. isn’t the first option on offense anymore. He’s accepted that.

“For me, one of my biggest growths has come in acceptance in a sense and for me knowing it’s probably not going to be that kind of season (with huge numbers),” Beckham said on a video call with reporters Thursday. “Like I always say, my goal is always going to be my goal, and I don’t feel like I’m ever going to fall short of it. Like I said, learning and acceptance, so you set new goals.”

‘Acceptance’ is now the key for Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s attitude had definitely changed. His temper has cooled. That was evident in a Thursday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals when his jersey was grabbed by a Bengals defensive back and no penalty was called. “I think a younger me would have been more upset,” Beckham said, according to The Associated Press. “And now just realizing, it is like life; you just kind of roll with the punches.”

In fact, Beckham Jr. even reached out to the official. “I told him on the field, I was like, ‘Man, I have made mistakes in my career, but we have to move past that,’” Beckham said. “I am just here to play football, too. … You missed a call, and whether it was or it was not pass interference, it was not called so I can’t harp on it or anything like that.”

For now, Beckham Jr. is happy the Browns got a win over the Bengals last Thursday. He was happy to see Nick Chubb and Cleveland’s ground game take off. “Just to see him running free and down the sideline is going to be a great feeling,” Beckham said. “I think a lot of my growth came in acceptance, acceptance of life and acceptance of things and just knowing that is what it is going to be and finding a way to create that block that springs him or whatever it is to help us win.”