Odell Beckham Jr.’s first season with the Browns last year after being traded from the Giants was a disaster on multiple levels, the highest of which was Freddie Kitchens’ failed coaching stint. From a personal standpoint, Beckham was dealing with multiple injuries that contributed to what became the worst season of his six-year career.
Beckham, 27, had kept the specifics of those injuries away from the public until Monday, when he posted a video to his YouTube channel detailing the ailments.
“So last year I was training in June and July,” Beckham explained, “and I was kind of just feeling stuff around the groin area, abs and stuff like that. My third week of training camp, I tear a little piece of my ab. So before the season, I kind of had the hernia thing going on. Sports hernia is what they call it. End up at the end of the season, torn abductor, torn rectus abdominis on the right.
“So pretty much, I was just f—ed up the whole year. I really didn’t try and say anything about it. Probably one of the worst surgeries I’ve ever had.
“Recovery’s going well. Guess I’m really just trying to put my body back together. I’ve been playing for 23 years, so for me, I’m trying to put it all back together in seven months.”
Beckham played in all 16 games last season as Cleveland limped to a 6-10 record. He recorded 74 catches for 1,035 yards and 4 touchdowns, the lowest figures of his career with the exception of the 2017 season when an ankle injury limited him to just four games.
With first-year coach Kevin Stefanski replacing the fired Kitchens as the Browns’ leader, and given his return to health, Beckham has good reason for optimism. He expressed as much in the video.
“I would honestly say this is probably going to be one of my best seasons,” Beckham said. “Bigger, stronger, faster — this is my time.”
That is, assuming Beckham sticks in Cleveland and is not traded. The Browns claim the seventh-year wide receiver remains in their plans, but there would be no financial barriers in the way if Cleveland were to decide to move the player who reportedly was telling opponents last season he wanted out.
The Browns in free agency signed Jack Conklin to replace Greg Robinson at left tackle, and they drafted Alabama’s Jedrick Wills to hold down the right side in the short term. They also signed Austin Hooper to compliment David Njoku and form a strong tight end duo.
Including Baker Mayfield at quarterback, Stefanski has a potentially strong offensive unit on his hands — including an apparently stronger-than-ever Beckham.