CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. put up some impressive statistics and earned multiple Pro Bowl invitations during his five seasons with the New York Giants, but he believes there is much more still left to prove.
And Beckham Jr. feels he needed a change of scenery in order reach new heights.
“I can’t wait to get going,” Beckham Jr. said in a recent interview with Complex. “I just felt with the Giants, I was just stuck at a place that wasn’t working for me anymore. I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to reach my full potential there: mentally, physically, spiritually. Everything I felt capable of doing, I just couldn’t see it happening there.
“So I think allowing me to be in an environment where I can be myself and give it a different approach, I feel like my football will benefit. I’m just excited about being able to play football again and not have to deal with all the other stuff and politics that came with my previous role.”
Proven track record
Over 59 regular-season games, including 56 starts, for the Giants, Beckham Jr. turned 622 targets into 390 receptions for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns. Beckham Jr. averaged 92.8 yards per game, including a league-best 108.8 during the 2014 season.
Beckham Jr. has put four 1,000-yard and three double-digit touchdown seasons on his resume since being selected with a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Last season, Beckham Jr. turned in a 77-catch, 1,052-yard, six-touchdown effort for the Giants.
Beckham Jr. was a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2014-2016) and two-time Second Team All-Pro honoree (2015-2016) during his five years with the Giants.
Why could this work?
Although Beckham Jr. has no shortage of success already on his resume, how much better could he get?
Well, the Browns are hoping that with his longtime friend, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and their position coach at Louisiana State University, Adam Henry, on Cleveland’s staff that Beckham Jr. will reach a higher level of success.
“I’m very excited by the culture at the Browns,” Beckham Jr. said to Complex. “It’s been building over the years, and they’ve got players over there who I just know I’m gonna click with.
“Jarvis is a brother of mine, and we dreamed of this moment. It’s just crazy that it’s actually happening. The percentage of people that make it to the NFL is less than one percent, so the chances of me playing with one of my brothers on the same team is a dream manifested, for sure.”
Motivated to improve
Prior to the 2018 season, Beckham Jr. signed a five-year, $90 million contract with the Giants, and he is set to make between $14.25 million and $17 million a season over the life of the deal.
As is often the case with players who sign big-money contract extensions, questions of motivation and desire to work hard have come up, but since the first day Beckham Jr. stepped foot in the facility, he has been focused on doing what is necessary to win games, and that is true more than two months later.
“This game is about winning,” Beckham Jr. said during minicamp in early June. “I know some of us get stuck up in numbers, but this game is about winning. I do see a lot of potential with this team, and not even just because I’m here.
“I really feel it, and I feel something in the air, something special that Cleveland hasn’t had for a while, and I’m happy to be a part of that. I hope that I can help do whatever I need to do to push that that way.”