CLEVELAND — Odell Beckham Jr.’s tease on social media is a drum beat for the release of the Cleveland Browns full NFL schedule.
The Browns might play the New York Jets in a season-opening night game — probably Monday night since Browns-Jets is steeped in MNF history.
The season opener would not only take Beckham back to MetLife Stadium, shared by the Giants and Jets, it would give us Baker Mayfield vs. Sam Darnold as the headliner with an even more intriguing head-to-head matchup in tow:
Freddie Kitchens' offense vs. Gregg Williams' defense.
Starting on Monday night would provide a quick answer to the question of whether the 2019 Browns will be ready for prime time but clearly there will be more answers to come.
Will they be out over their skis after a single promising season (7-8-1)? Will they handle the transition from afterthought to coveted TV property or show themselves to be the group that couldn’t beat teams with winning records in 2018?
Browns-Jets would be a nice opening act. Browns at New England Patriots looks like a sure thing for prime time as do the Los Angeles Rams at home.
I’d bet on three prime time games with the chance of another.
If the Browns are as good as expected.
(And when was the last time that sentence could be written?)
- Larry Drew wasn’t in the Cavs plans for next year. That was known all season long. They will almost certainly go with a bright young assistant who can grow with a team that is years away from serious and consistent attention.
That rules out Mike Brown.
- Hearing commentators on TV and Sirius XM radio refer to Augusta National’s golf fans as “patrons” every year makes me want to challenge the offenders to a quarrel, maybe even a tussle.
- If I hear another TV guy call three-time major winner Brooks Koepka “the player the media doesn’t talk about” my inclination will be to to say, well, you know, you’re the media, too. Talk away.
- If you can interrupt the continuous loop of Tiger Woods highlights.
- At least You Said It isn’t pretentious enough to claim “patrons.”
Of course, it’s not popular enough to claim fans either.
- Koepka is a big-game hunter, playing his best in the majors. So to get talked about more than four or five times a year, he probably needs to show up in more places than the Sports Illustrated Body Issue.
- That’s the story of the week: that Koepka has dropped 24 pounds — that part he admits — to get more buff for the SI pictorial published later this summer.
“For him to change his body and his body chemistry for vanity reasons is the most reckless self-sabotage that I have ever seen of an athlete that is in his prime,” said the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.
“I get why they ask Gary Player to do that shoot. I get why they ask Greg Norman to do that shoot. But to do something that takes you out of your game, to change your game completely, it’s never worked out very well. I think he’d be at the top of everybody’s list to win at Augusta National had he not done this and had his game not [declined].”
Koepka, whose last three events ended in a missed cut and two T-56s, tied for the lead with Bryson DeChambeau at six-under Thursday.
Sabotage might be a little strong when Koepka already has more trophies than body parts that might need some cover in a nude photo shoot.
- Seems Magic Johnson just wants to be Magic Johnson.
Johnson wasn’t interested in doing much of the heavy lifting as Los Angeles Lakers GM. And he admitted he didn't have the stomach to change coaching staffs after such a disappointing season.
So he quit without first informing Lakers owner Jeannie Buss, in part because he feared she might talk him out of it.
Johnson’s stay as president of basketball operations lasted just two years, which is longer than his NBA coaching career. That lasted 16 games with the Lakers in 1994.
Magic said he just wasn't having enough fun.
And millennials get a bad name in the work place.
- LeBron James was said to be “stunned” by Johnson’s decision to resign as Lakers president. Johnson had reportedly met with Rich Paul, James agent, Saturday but gave no indication he’d considered quitting.
Imagine going go L.A. and discovering LaVar Ball isn’t the real wild card connected to the Lakers organization.
- San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski scored his team’s first goal in a win over the Vegas Golden Knights when a puck off his jaw found the net. That it knocked out some teeth didn’t seem to phase Pavelski.
“I feel alright,” Pavelski later told reporters. “Enough of the dental questions.”
Hockey players are the toughest athletes in the world.
And if you don’t think so, you tell them.
- Virginia was installed as favorites to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship in 2020, just minutes after the Cavaliers beat Texas Tech for the championship Monday night in overtime.
I don’t want to say Virginia was lucky after last-second escapes against Purdue and Auburn earlier in the tournament but Kevin Costner was more convincing as Robin Hood than the Cavaliers were as national champs.
- Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis hasn’t had a base hit since Sept. 14. His hitless streak has reached 53 at-bats.
It’s the longest hitless streak in MLB history and would probably take him out of consideration of hitting any higher than fifth in the Indians batting order this April.
- Patriots owner Bob Kraft’s lawyers argue that releasing video of him at that Florida day spa would cause “irreparable harm.”
You bet, said people with photographic memories.
And pretty much everyone else.
- You hear the argument that some things are better left to the imagination but that doesn’t seem like the answer here either.
- Via Yahoo, Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden had some advice for GM Mike Mayock.
“Don’t mess it up, dude,” Gruden said, according to the GM. “I took a lot of slings to get you three first-round picks.”
And there’s as much chance Mayock has final say in the draft over Gruden as there is Antonio Brown being considered the glue that holds the Oakland locker room together.
- This is the 15th anniversary of my round of golf at Augusta National. I was chosen to play (by lottery) the day after Phil Mickelson won his first green jacket in 2004 and wrote about it for the Plain Dealer's golf section.
I won't bore you with the details. Unless you ask me and then I'll talk about it incessantly for two hours.
Just know that with no one in attendance, not a single patron was harmed in the completion of a round that sometimes resembled golf.
My 2019 pick: Kevin Kisner.