Odell Beckham Jr. is back. The Cleveland Browns‘ dynamic but oft-injured wide receiver will play this weekend for the first time since mangling his knee 11 months ago.
Odell Beckham (knee) to play vs. Bears
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski Friday afternoon announced the decision, which was also reflected on the team’s injury report. Beckham was not listed as questionable, doubtful, or out — signifying there was no medical reason that the star wideout could not play against the Bears.
Stefanski said, “He looked good, ready to go.”
Beckham has not played since Oct. 25, 2020, when he tore his ACL. He had reconstructive surgery a few weeks later and began a rehab process that has taken a bit longer than expected.
The Browns, of course, kept him out of OTAs and minicamp, but they didn’t put him on the physically unable to perform list to start training camp — signaling he had passed the physical. Still, he did little on-field during the summer, although he did get some one-on-one work with Baker Mayfield.
Cleveland had hoped he would be ready for the opener, but Beckham didn’t feel right pre-game, so the Browns scratched him. Beckham also wasn’t ready the following week, but after participating fully all week, he was finally ready for live action.
Beckham Jr. will need to fill void left after Jarvis Landry’s injury
It’ll be fascinating to see how much Beckham does in his first game back. The Browns certainly need the help, with Jarvis Landry out for at least three weeks with a sprained MCL. But they also have been exceedingly cautious in not having Beckham do too much too soon.
Still, if he looks good in warmups and early in the game, it might be tough to fight the temptation to let it rip. With Cleveland’s top two wideouts dealing with knee injuries, Donovan Peoples-Jones has been the Browns’ most active wide receiver. He leads Cleveland wideouts in snaps (93 of a possible 120), but he has just 2 catches on 2 targets.
The Browns’ offense has flowed mostly through Landry, running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and tight ends Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant, and David Njoku.
In his first seven NFL seasons, Beckham has 487 catches for 6,830 yards and 51 touchdowns. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler, but not since 2016.