- Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is will miss the rest of the 2020 NFL season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee.
- OBJ’s injury was confirmed with a MRI on Monday morning.
- After an embarrassing 6-10 finish last year the Browns are 5-2 so far this season.
The Cleveland Browns feared the worst when wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. limped to the locker room after an awkward collision on an interception play in the first quarter of Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals. On Monday morning, a MRI confirmed that these ‘worst case scenario’ concerns were justified. The MRI revealed that Beckham had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the season.
The severity of Beckham’s injury didn’t come as a surprise. Although the specifics of the situation weren’t known until Monday it was evident as he left the game on Sunday that OBJ had suffered what NFL insider Ian Rapoport characterized as a ‘major knee injury’. It is the second serious knee injury suffered by a Browns’ offensive player this season. It’s the second major knee injury for a high-profile Browns player this season. Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb suffered a right medial collateral ligament injury during a 49-38 win over the Dallas Cowboys on October 4. Chubb is on IR but is expected to return this season. The latest report indicates that his recovery is progressing well and that he could be back in the lineup by Week 10.
OBJ’s production has slipped significantly from earlier in his career. He averaged 1,374 yards and 12 touchdowns per season from 2014 to 2016. Last season, he amassed 1,035 yards and four touchdowns. Beckham’s 2019 statistical numbers sound better than they really were. He had only two 100 yard games last season as the Browns bumbled through a 6-10 season after being tabbed as a serious Super Bowl contender in the offseason. He underwent core muscle surgery in February hoping that would help revive his explosiveness.
Browns’ head coach Kevin Stefanski continued to emphasize Beckham’s importance to the team despite the appearance that he’s a bad fit in more run oriented offense the team is running this year:
“Obviously, it is a big loss. As everyone knows, he is a huge part of what we do. Now we will just have to huddle up and find some different ways and find some different people and put them in that role. Ultimately, we are just trying to do what our players do best. That is our job to figure that out.”
Beckham has decent value as a decoy–he’s a guy that opposing defenses have to account for which creates opportunities for teammates. The reality, however, is that teams don’t pay players $90 million to create a diversion. Stefanski went on praising OBJ, talking about his energy and ‘juice’. The fact that he didn’t mention any major roll in the team’s offense is significant:
“The energy he brings to practice and the energy he brings the games, no one else is going to be able to bring that type of juice. It is our job to find the guys that that can go compete and that we can go put them in spots where they can succeed. I think we will be able to do that.
“That is not easy. [I] Do not want to have to do it and I am very disappointed for Odell, but that is the nature of this beast. Injuries are part of this game. It does not mean any of us have to like it, but we do have to deal with it.”
There have been rumors that Beckham is getting frustrated with the Browns, Baker Mayfield and his role in the offense. The team is saying all of the right things but you have to think that they’re getting frustrated with OBJ as well. While some fans and sports media types were insistent that Beckham had played his last game with Cleveland that probably isn’t the case due to contractual factors. Until he recovers from ACL surgery–10 months to a year–it would be tough to trade him. The Browns aren’t really in a position to cut him this season either:
Since the Browns are on the hook for $15 million next year regardless and since Beckham isn’t going anywhere via trade until he’s healthy both sides have a vested interest in trying to make things work out in 2021.