BEREA — Here Tuesday, gone Wednesday.
Receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s time at organized team activities was short-lived. He arrived at Browns headquarters Monday, practiced Tuesday on the first day of OTAs and departed before practice Wednesday.
The Browns have accepted Beckham’s part-time plan for the voluntary offseason program after acquiring him from the Giants in a March 13 trade. He attended the first day April 1, returned Monday and will likely be in and out over the next couple of weeks.
“Listen, I have never disputed the fact that it is important for him to be here, but it is also important for him to be mentally ready to be here,” coach Freddie Kitchens said after practice. “I’m not giving him an out by any stretch of imagination, and nobody here knows the conversations that Odell and I have. I’m just saying it is better for him to be here when he can present his best self — emotionally, physically, everything.
“Odell Beckham is going to be here in the fall, and he is going to be a good football player in the fall just like he has been.”
The Browns have two more weeks of OTAs before mandatory minicamp June 4-6. The organization expects Beckham to attend the entire camp, which is the last stage in the offseason program before a six-week break in advance of training camp.
Beckham trains in Los Angeles and threw with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield last year while he was with the Giants. Mayfield said he will work with Beckham and other Cleveland receivers again this summer before training camp.
He was glad to throw to him in a Browns uniform Tuesday.
“It was really great to have him out here and around the guys, which I think is the most important part because we have a lot of time to get the timing down,” Mayfield said. “Right now, it is about getting to know each other, get the base of our offense down and accomplish those things.”
The Browns knew Beckham was a free spirit and a different personality when they sent safety Jabrill Peppers, the No. 17 pick in the draft and a third-round selection to the Giants. They love the unique ability that made him a three-time Pro Bowler in five years with New York and believe he’ll be motivated on a team with championship aspirations.
“You let a guy like that be him,” Mayfield said. “Everybody has their routine. Stick to what is working, and for him, obviously, it has been working for a while.
“He is going to do what he’s going to do. You have to trust that he is going to be there when it matters, and we know who he is.”
Defensive end Olivier Vernon wound up being part of the blockbuster deal, as the Browns had previously agreed to send right guard Kevin Zeitler to the Giants for him. Vernon said he’s not surprised, or worried, Beckham has missed most of the offseason program.
“At the end of the day he’s going to be ready,” Vernon said. “We all know he’s going to be all right.
“He already has the respect in the locker room and around the league. So when the time he gets here in training camp, guys are going to really notice. They’re really going to feed off of the energy that he’s going to bring.”
While the Browns aren’t concerned Beckham’s time away from the team will negatively affect him over the long term, they are careful to note he can’t just show up and expect to dominate.
“That is the type of talent he is, but at the same time, we have to work for it. It is not just going to happen,” Mayfield said.
“Well, it is not that easy,” Kitchens said. “Odell understands that he has a lot of work to do in minicamp and in training camp.”
At his introductory news conference after being hired as coach, Kitchens declared the goal is to win the Super Bowl. He hasn’t wavered but has grown weary of predictions from his players.
He was good with Beckham telling GQ he will try to turn the Browns into a dynasty like the Patriots.
“I think maybe Odell was saying that he wanted to get to that point. Hell, I do, too,” Kitchens said. “I think the New England Patriots have played 587 playoff games or something like that with the collective team that they have on their roster right now. I want to get to be what the Patriots are.
“I think that is what he was saying. He wasn’t making predictions.”