The media showed up, and Odell Beckham vanished.
A day after taking his first pass from Baker Mayfield, the enigmatic star wide receiver skipped out on Wednesday’s organized team activities, the only session of the week open to reporters, as noted by Cleveland.com.
OTAs are voluntary, as were the minicamps Beckham drew criticism for being absent from earlier this offseason. Some deemed it a bad first impression, though things don’t get mandatory until June’s minicamp. (Beckham attended seven of the Giants 10 OTAs last year.)
So for now, Cleveland Browns head coach Feddie Kitchens seems fine with giving Beckham space.
“I have never disputed the fact that it is not important for him to be here, but it is also important for him to be mentally ready to be here,’’ Kitchens said. “I’m not giving him an out by any stretch of imagination, and nobody here knows the conversations that Odell and I have. I’m just saying it is better for him to be here when he can present his best self – emotionally, physically, everything.’’
It’s been a whirlwind spring for Beckham, who was shipped from the circus Giants to the upstart Browns in March, less than a year after signing a five-year, $95 million extension with Big Blue.
Then came GM Dave Gettleman’s perceived indirect shot at Beckham within an NJ Advance Media report, which set off a tweetstorm from the 26-year-old. Beckham then showed up to the Met Gala in a kilt, alongside former teammate Saquon Barkley, and New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and Julian Edelman.
The media, understandably, will have a list of questions ready whenever he takes the podium next.
“You let a guy like that do him,” Mayfield told reporters of Beckham’s latest absence. “He’s gonna do what he’s gonna do and you have to trust that’s he’s gonna do his job.”
The coach added: “Odell Beckham is going to be here in the fall, and he’s going to be a good football player in the fall just like he has been. We just need to incorporate it into a team setting,” Kitchen said.
And then after that?
“I plan on being there for the next five years,” Beckham told GQ earlier this month, “And trying to bring as many championships there as possible.”