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Odell Beckham Jr. active for finale vs. Bengals; Rashard Higgins’ lost season ends as a healthy scratch

CINCINNATI — Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has recovered sufficiently from his flulike symptoms and is active for today’s season finale against the Bengals.

Receiver Rashard Higgins’ lost season ends with a whimper, as he’s a healthy scratch for what could be his final game with the Browns.

Tight end David Njoku is active after being a healthy scratch the last two weeks.

And defensive end Olivier Vernon is active. He had missed six of the previous seven games with a knee injury.


Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at a rainy Paul Brown Stadium.

Beckham didn’t practice Friday due to an illness, met with a doctor and was listed as questionable on the official injury report. He needs 46 receiving yards to become only the 10th player in NFL history with five 1,000-yard seasons within his first six years.

Despite battling a sports hernia since training camp, Beckham has played every game in his first season with the Browns after being acquired in March in a trade with the Giants. He has 71 catches for 954 yards, a 13.4 average and three touchdowns.

It will be only the second time in a six-year career Beckham has played every game, joining 2016. He’s on pace for career lows in catches, yards and touchdowns in a season, not counting 2017 when he played four games.

Higgins will finish with four catches for 55 yards and a touchdown in 10 games. The touchdown was the winner vs. the Bills on Nov. 10 — the last catch of the year and possibly of his Browns career. He’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

Higgins missed Weeks 2-5 with a knee injury, clashed with coach Freddie Kitchens upon his return and couldn’t escape the doghouse. Higgins reportedly refused to enter a game in the fourth quarter against Seattle in Week 6 because he hadn’t played in the first three quarters.

He didn’t play an offensive snap the last three weeks despite being active.

“Still not over it,” Higgins told The Chronicle-Telegram on Friday about the disappointing season. “Still a lot that I think about at nighttime. But it is what it is.”

Vernon was injured Nov. 3 against the Broncos, missed three games, then returned to play 10 snaps against the Steelers on Dec. 1. He wasn’t himself and missed the next three weeks as he continued to be limited in practice.

He has 34 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble in nine games in his first year with the Browns.

The other inactives are: tight end Pharaoh Brown, tackle Kendall Lamm, receiver Taywan Taylor, safety J.T. Hassell, defensive end Robert McCray and guard Colby Gossett.

The Browns acquired Taylor in a trade Aug. 31, but he didn’t have a catch in three games and was a healthy scratch the rest of the year.

Brown missed practice Friday with an illness, and Lamm’s been battling a knee injury.

Running back Nick Chubb, middle linebacker Joe Schobert and defensive back Eric Murray were chosen as the game captains.

Chubb leads the league with 1,453 rushing yards and is in position to win the franchise’s first rushing title since Leroy Kelly in 1968.

Schobert could be playing his final game for the organization. He’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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