CLEVELAND — Despite reports earlier in the day that indicated otherwise, Odell Beckham Jr. will not play in the Cleveland Browns' 2021 season opener vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. Just an hour before kickoff in Kansas City, the Browns announced that their star wide receiver would be inactive for the contest as he continues to recover from the torn ACL that cost him the final nine games and two postseason games of Cleveland's 2020 season.
Although he entered Sunday's opener listed as questionable and a game-time decision, it comes a somewhat of a surprise that Beckham won't be available to play against Kansas City. Albeit in a limited capacity, the three-time Pro Bowl receiver had been a regular participant in the Browns' training camp and even warmed up at Arrowhead Stadium ahead of Sunday's opener.
Acquired in a trade with the New York Giants in 2019, Beckham is eyeing a big bounce-back season with the Browns after his injury-shortened 2020 season followed an underwhelming debut campaign in Cleveland. Through his first 23 games with the Browns, the LSU product has tallied 97 receptions for 1,354 yards and seven touchdowns, including 23 receptions for 319 yards and four total touchdowns (three receiving, one rushing) in seven games in 2020.
Speaking to reporters at his youth football camp in July, Beckham spoke of his lofty expectations for the Browns entering the 2021 campaign.
"There's just something that feels special about this team," Beckham said. "Cleveland needs a championship, and I think that's the goal, that's the mentality in that building, and that's what I want to be a part of."
Without Beckham in the lineup, second-year receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones could be in line to see increased reps. The Browns' full list of inactives for Sunday is as follows:
- K Chris Naggar
- WR Odell Beckham Jr.
- S Grant Delpit
- LB Tony Fields II
- T James Hudson III
- G Michael Dunn
- DT Tommy Togiai