CLEVELAND — Expectations for the Cleveland Browns in 2019 continue to be at a high level as we work our way through the offseason.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. raised the stakes earlier this week in an interview with GQ. The three-time Pro Bowler called his shot with this blunt statement: "I plan on being there for the next five years and trying to bring as many championships there as possible, turning [the Browns] into the new Patriots.”
That set off a firestorm in the national media, including the usual carnival barking analysts like ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Why would OBJ make such a statement, you might ask? According to Smith, the blame lies on a "Kid from Akron" who is now playing in Los Angeles. LeBron James.
"It's all his (LBJ's) fault!" Smith screamed on ESPN's First Take. "He spoiled them (Cleveland and fans), they miss him, they have absolutely nothing to root for."
But wait, there's more.
"Because he's (LBJ) gone and Odell's his boy showing up on The Shop, he used to be in Cleveland all the time for Cavs games in the playoffs and the Finals. You got him hanging out with LeBron, who's obviously the King when it comes to Cleveland, and since he's gone we have NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING to lean on other than expectations," Smith ranted. "So let's bloviate about it, let's elevate it, and get the fans percolating."
By the way, Beckham has since clarified his statement on Instagram, saying "I will always aspire to be great. I haven't reached that point in the NFL but that's what we all chase and I'm going to continue to work to help the Browns become great," Beckham said on Thursday. "[I] never meant the Browns are the new Patriots or going to be the new Patriots. I just have great respect for what they've done but definitely recognize the work that has to be done to get there."
Jim Donovan and I talked about the Beckham controversy during Thursday's Donovan Live Postgame Show. Watch it in the player below: