Odell Beckham Jr. looked smooth running routes. He made his trademark one-handed catches effortlessly. He showed off his chiseled abs.
The Browns receiver continues to progress following core muscle surgery Jan. 18, as shown in a video former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton posted Saturday on Instagram. Newton, the No. 1 pick in 2011 and a free agent, threw passes to Beckham on a field at UCLA.
Judging by a change in wardrobe, the video combines two sessions. Beckham goes without a shirt in one and is all muscle.
“I would honestly say this is probably going to be one of my best seasons,” he said in early May when he provided a rehab update on his YouTube channel. “Bigger, stronger, faster. This is my time.”
Beckham, 27, played through the injury all last season — his first with the Browns following a trade from the Giants — finishing with 74 catches for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns.
He said he originally felt discomfort in his groin area in June or July, then tore a little piece of his abdominal muscle in the third week of training camp in August. The surgery revealed a torn adductor and a torn rectus abdominis.
“So right now what I’m trying to do is basically a reset button,” he said in the May video. “Being able to get everything fixed — shoulder, arms, back, everything aligned, functional, moving properly — so I can begin training to get ready for the season.”
The expectation is Beckham will be ready to participate when the Browns open training camp, which is scheduled to start in late July.
Although the Browns and the NFL have been limited to virtual offseason programs due to the coronavirus pandemic and won’t practice until training camp, Beckham has received rave reviews.
“He’s all-in. he’s bought in, he’s been there and it’s awesome,” offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said recently on a Zoom conference call with reporters. “It’s good to have him there. It’s good for him. He’s obviously learning the system.
“He’s a worker, he loves football, he’s smart as hell. He’s just been a model guy this offseason. I can’t wait to get him in the building, get him on the field. He’s been outstanding.”
Fellow receiver and best friend Jarvis Landry had hip surgery Feb. 4, and his return to the practice field is expected in August. He and Beckham have been comparing notes and videos of their rehabs.
“Seeing his process has been motivating me obviously from afar, which he does automatically,” Landry said recently on a Zoom call. “The player he is, his work ethic motivates me. And going back and forth with our videos about just where we are in our rehab process is something that has been encouraging us to get even better than we were before.”