CLEVELAND — Kevin Stefanski plans to meet with Odell Beckham Jr. to lay out his expectations, including how he wants Cleveland Browns players to conduct themselves.
The video of Beckham handing out $100 bills to LSU players following their national championship win and later slapping a stadium security guard on the backside provides a timely opening for Stefanski to address behavior standards.
“I don’t have a relationship yet with Odell, so we need to sit down and get to know each other,’’ Stefanski told the media gathered at Wednesday’s Greater Cleveland Sports Awards. “He needs to get to know me, I need to get to know him, and then we’re going to move forward with our eyes ahead to 2020.’’
I’m sure things will go swimmingly once they move past Beckham saying, “And you are? And you’re with?”
- Stefanski will get his first chance to establish conduct standards when he meets with players.
Maybe Freddie Kitchens established that in private but publicly he too often sided with his players and made excuses for them.
It didn’t matter if it were Baker Mayfield making a lewd gesture after a TD or Beckham turning the game week focus toward his unhappiness with the NFL dress code police.
There was Kitchens saying he had no problem with his stars.
The only exception was his immediate angry public reaction to Myles Garrett hitting Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a helmet. That was an easy one.
How will Stefanski handle things? Will he take control?
The point isn’t that a coach can’t live with Beckham’s indiscretions. They’re almost never major issues or incidents.
It’s whether Stefanski can live with Beckham making himself the center of attention — that is the one constant — while preaching selflessness.
The ceiling is hard to establish. The floor not so much.
- The minimum standard of conduct, after all, simply requires that players ask themselves what Antonio Brown would do, then back slowly away from even remotely similar behavior.
- The Hollywood (Fla.) Police Department issued an arrest on a charge of burglary and battery after Brown and his trainer allegedly beat a moving van driver who sought payment for delivering some of Brown’s belongings from California. Brown eventually turned himself in.
Presumably not among the belongings? A copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
- Jarvis Landry helped the AFC beat the NFC in dodgeball during the Pro Bowl skills competition.
I think by now Browns fans are getting a little tired of all this winning under Jimmy Haslam.
- GM search update: We’re told the Browns are purposely taking their time in their search for perfect alignment in their front office.
- In accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of his family, Indians owner Paul Dolan joked that he would enjoy watching Francisco Lindor this season but wouldn’t presume to tell Indians fans to do the same.
Dolan got grief last spring after The Athletic’s Zack Meisel quoted him on the topic of trying to keep Lindor in town while the All-Star shortstop can command a $300-400 million contract when his current deal expires.
“Enjoy him,” Dolan said last March. “We control him for three more years. Enjoy him, and then, we’ll see what happens.”
Dolan’s speech at the sports awards banquet in which he singled out suites holders for thanks suggested that a year later he has yet to adjust the dial on his tone deafness.
I consider myself expert on jokes that go over like a lead balloon (just keep reading if you are new to this column).
If the Dolans can’t afford to keep Lindor, OK, then spend to make a World Series run while they still have him.
Until he does that, any Lindor joke is destined to fall just as flat as the Indians payroll.
- Hue Jackson doesn’t think people should judge him solely on his time here as Browns head coach.
“My coaching record over 32 years speaks for itself,” Jackson said, via the Associated Press. “I don’t think 2½ years at Cleveland should tarnish my whole career but at the same time people have to know that you are out there and are willing and able to work.”
To be fair, he’s right.
I’ll check back with you in another 32 years.
- Niners running back Raheem Mostert, whose monster NFC Championship game included four touchdowns and 220 yards rushing, keeps a list of the dates previous NFL teams waived him.
After signing with Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent, Mostert spent time with Miami, Baltimore, the Jets, Browns and Bears before landing in San Francisco.
He returned 12 kicks for the Browns in the 2015 season.
How can I put this in terms a You Said It contributor would understand?
Blaming the Browns for not keeping him is like singling out for criticism the fourth girl who turned you down for prom.
- Boston’s Jaylen Brown dunked on LeBron James, then admitted jamming on James was on his bucket list.
This is one of the rare times people could say “literally” and have it be the correct usage.
- Agent Scott Boras told The Athletic that Astros players don’t owe anyone an apology for using technology to steal signs and relaying the info to teammates at home plate.
He blamed the organization.
“To suggest players violated rules that were withheld from them is a false incrimination of players,” said Boras.
True. The organization should have told players it was against the rules to use cameras to tip hitters to incoming pitches.
Just like it should explain — for the good of every player who wears the Astros uniform — that if at any time they find themselves short on cash to help out a friend or family member they should not under any circumstances rob a bank.
- Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has thrown 27 total passes for all of 208 yards in two post-season victories. San Francisco is averaging 235.5 yards rushing.
His eight pass attempts in last week’s rout of the Packers were the fourth fewest ever in a post-season game.
Technically, though, he attempted 11. Three were negated by penalty.
So…aired it out, he did.
- No need to pick a Super Bowl winner until next week.
In the meantime, I’m taking the over of 15 on the number of moths to fly out of Garoppolo’s right arm hole during pregame warmups.
- Enjoy the weekend while it still includes Frankie Lindor in an Indians uniform.