What About Odell?

So good.

Jim Rome
August 21, 2019 - 9:40 am
Odell Beckham Jr.

USA Today

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Yesterday it was GQ, today it’s Sports Illustrated. What I’m saying is: the Cleveland Browns are taking over.

And right now, there aren’t months or weeks on a calendar. The only measurement of time that matters is the number of days from now until the next time the Browns take the field. And I tell that time in Browns jersey numbers. Yesterday we were a Garrett Gilbert away from the next preseason game on Friday night.

Now it’s Austin Seibert days away from the preseason game against the Bucs. And note that I said preseason game, not exhibition game.

When the Cleveland Browns play, it’s the preseason. It is preparing for the season. When everyone else plays, it’s an exhibition.

So while we wait for Austin Seibert to become A.J. Oulettte, the nation has to kill time before watching the Browns by reading about the Browns. And yet again, the Browns are on the cover of a magazine, this time, Sports Illustrated.

Ben Baskin’s piece on the Browns focuses on Odell Beckham Junior and Jarvis Landry and a relationship that goes back to high school, when they met, then decided to play together at LSU and dream of playing together in the NFL, and according to do Landry “doing legendary bleep.”

And of course if we’re talking about Odell, we have to talk about New York. Because that’s where he first went and that’s where he broke out with the catch. You know the catch? Have you ever seen it? It was pretty cool. Pretty impressive.

“I was talked about as if I was a celebrity who had the luxury of playing football. It got to the point where it wasn’t really about football anymore. It was politics.”

But Beckham would be the first to admit that he played a role in everything: “I can’t be like, ‘I’ve never done anything wrong.’”

That’s fair. And the thing is, I could do another entire take rehashing everything that happened with Beckham and the Giants, but that’s been beaten to death.

The SI piece brings forward a couple more details about how the deal actually went down. Four days after the Giants and Browns agreed the deal that would send Olivier Vernon to Cleveland, Browns GM John Dorsey called New York GM Dave Gettleman back and according to SI, asked a simple question: “What about Odell?”

There you have it. John Dorsey, legend. He’s the guy who gets lost in all of this. It’s easy to focus on Baker, and Odell, and Jarvis, and Olivier, and Denzel, and Freddie, and on and on. But there’s also the guy who’s getting all of those guys in to Browns gear.

The guy who’s just calling up a team and saying, “What about Odell?” What about the greatest receiver in your team’s history? What about that guy you just signed to a massive deal who moves a ton of jerseys every year?

A closed mouth doesn’t get fed. And John Dorsey was about to eat. Because as SI breaks down the call, it was simple. Dorsey made an offer. Gettleman countered. Dorsey hung up and turned to his staff and said, “Damn, we may have a chance.”

And then he did it. He did the damn thing and got Beckham from the Giants.

Although in Odell’s mind, it wasn’t quite that beautiful. The way Odell feels his relationship with the Giants had sour and they were looking to not only run him out of town but screw him by sending him to Cleveland.  

“This wasn’t no business move. This was personal. They thought they’d send me here to die.”

Odell says he knows the Giants had better offers on the table for him. Personally, I don’t know what they did or didn’t have or why they sent him to Cleveland and not somewhere else.

But if they sent him to Cleveland to die, that would be maybe the most Dave Gettleman thing ever. And I don’t mean that in a good way. If they thought trading to Odell to Cleveland would be the thing that would crush him, that would be unbelievably dumb.

If you’re looking to jam and a punish a receiver, you don’t send  him to a team with a stud quarterback, a Pro Bowl receiver who happens to be his best friend, a ton of other weapons on offense, a loaded defense, and a coaching staff led by Freddie Kitchens.  Punishment. You just put a winning lottery ticket in his hand. Now all he has to do is cash it.

Punishment?! A punishment implies sending a guy somewhere he doesn’t be.  Somewhere no one wants to be. A place that is all jacked up. The biggest problem with being sent to Cleveland is its place where there’s too much freaking talent: a place where there are so many playmakers, they need to find a way to get all of them touches. That’s the only concern about being sent to Cleveland. And according to Odell, it’s not a concern at all: “Somebody is going to put that motherbleeper in the end zone.”

So if sending Odell to the Browns, to play with his best friend as part of a better offense with a better quarterback and a better offensive mind calling the shots, is a punishment, where do I sign up for that brand of punishment? What crimes do I need to commit to get “punished” by going to a much better situation? Sign me up. I will happily kick a field goal net, propose to it and then get down with it means I get to roll with that crew. 

And I know what you’re thinking before you even think it, so don’t come in here with your “yeah, Rome, the team is good, but he still has to live in Cleveland” zingers. Skip it.

Don’t come in here with your tired Jo Noah resets either. That take is so old and so outdated. And aged horribly. 

Cleveland is a shiny, up-and-coming city. You aren’t punishing Odell by making him go to that glorious city on the water. It might not be New York when it comes to restaurants and nightlife: they didn’t banish this dude. They punish this dude. They improved his career and his life demonstrably. Being sent to Cleveland wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened to him, it was THE BEST THING. 

Cleveland is back. The Browns are back. And now it is time to do some legendary bleep. And put that motherbleeper in the end zone. I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again. Keep hating on Cleveland. Keep hating on the Browns. Because they’re taking all that hate, and converting into rocket fuel. They’re America’s team and not acknowledging it is about the most un-American thing ever.