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Baker Mayfield sorry for questioning Browns trainers

In a week that was filled with Odell Beckham Jr.-related headlines, it was only fitting that the final word on the star wideout came not from him, but his quarterback.

Baker Mayfield provided a surprising answer to a question pertaining to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport's Sunday report that Beckham has been playing through a sports hernia for the entire 2019 season.

"I'd say it wasn't handled right," Mayfield said of Beckham's injury. "He's not able to run as well as he should be able to, as well as he knows. And that's frustrating for him. You can sense that's some of his frustration, where that comes from. So wasn't handled the right way in our training room. So it is what it is. His not 100 percent is still good enough for us."

That's true, but it helps explain why Beckham is tracking toward one of his worst full seasons in his career. He and Mayfield haven't been on the same page for much of their first season together, robbing them of their big-play potential and severely limiting the output of Cleveland's offense. Beckham also hasn't been able to be the fully formed superstar he's been in past seasons because of the injury.

What's interesting, though, is how Mayfield looked back on the timing of the injury and how it might have been handled better had different decisions been made.

"I think it could have been addressed earlier on," Mayfield said. "I think looking back on it obviously hindsight is 20/20. But he probably would have missed first two (games of the season). One or two. Just based on the fact that it was during training camp.

"It is what it is. We're here right now. It's too late to do that. He's fighting through pain. He's playing through pain. That shows you what kind of guy he is."

It didn't take long for Mayfield to walk back his comments on how the Browns have handled Beckham's injury.

Beckham mentioned the existence of such an injury and how it limited him just before the start of the season, but that was largely all we'd heard about it until Beckham mentioned in passing this week that he's been "banged up" all season. The comment seemed more like an excuse than a legitimate reason for struggles -- that is, until Sunday's report.

Mayfield's timing is perhaps the most intriguing part of all of this because much of the week was spent discussing Beckham's happiness and how it might affect his future, which is unclear mostly because of how his contract is structured. Beckham's deal carries zero dead money after 2019, meaning the team and he could part ways with no penalty. That's unrealistic, of course, considering Beckham's rare talent.

But with ever-present rumors of an unhappy Beckham looking for a way out of town -- the same rumors that existed for years in New York before he was actually traded -- it's notable that Mayfield backed his teammate up with such a firm opinion. Perhaps it was too firm for even him.

By the way, the Brownswon Sunday. Their 27-19 triumph improved them to 6-7 and kept their slim playoff hopes alive.

But as has been the case all season, it's always something with this team. Stick around to see how long this story lives.

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