CLEVELAND (AP) — Odell Beckham Jr. is being released by the Cleveland Browns, who are cutting ties with the polarizing star wide receiver on Friday and have officially ended his drama-filled stay with the team.
Beckham’s unceremonious exit came on his 29th birthday and a few days after his father shared a video on social media highlighting times when Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t throw passes to the three-time Pro Bowler.
It was a tipping point in the team’s often-unstable relationship with him.
The Browns didn’t appreciate the video or that Beckham didn’t reach out to Mayfield, who said he was wiling to work things out. Beckham was told not to report to practice for two days as his representation worked with Browns general manager Andrew Berry on agreeable financial terms for his departure.
“After careful consideration, internal discussions and conversations with Odell and his representation, we’ve determined that it is in the best interest of all parties involved that Odell no longer play for the Cleveland Browns,” Berry said in a statement. “We appreciate all his efforts and contributions while in Cleveland, but we’ve just reached a point where it is best that we move forward as a team without Odell.
“We are finalizing the process of granting Odell his release and we wish him well as he continues his career.”
Now that Beckham’s gone, the Browns can put their full attention on Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Coincidentally, it was against the Bengals in Week 7 last season when Beckham suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Beckham can’t be claimed on waivers until next week.
One of he NFL’s most talented receivers, Beckham has also been one of its most irksome.
He came to Cleveland in a blockbuster 2019 trade from the New York Giants, who had grown tired of his self-absorbed antics. His arrival on the Browns brought unrealistic expectations in the first season and played a role in the team going 6-10 and undergoing another coaching change.
Although he insisted he was happy in Cleveland, where he was reunited with former college teammate and close friend Jarvis Landry, Beckham didn’t seem to like not being in a big market. He reportedly told opponents on the field during pregame warmups to “come get me” in the offseason.
Beckham seemed to fall in line last season under first-year coach Kevin Stefanski, but he never made a strong on-field connection with Mayfield, and their lack of chemistry was a constant topic.
When Beckham went down with his knee injury last October, it appeared to free up Mayfield, who played better without the playmaker and led the Browns to their first playoff appearance in 18 seasons and first postseason win since 1994.
Beckham worked hard to return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament this season, and there was a time when it looked as if his relationship with Mayfield and the Browns was finally working. However, he was rarely a major part of the game plan — other than to be a decoy — and Beckham was noticeably upset after Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh when he caught just one pass for 6 yards in a 15-10 loss.
The video — along with a tweet from LeBron James, who said “OBJ will show again why he’s special. WR1 #FreeOBJ” — looked to be orchestrated by Beckham and the clearest sign a breakup was necessary.
Beckham had 17 catches for 232 yards and zero touchdowns in six games this season. He only had two 100-yard games in 29 with Cleveland.