The timing of Odell Beckham Jr.'s ACL injury left the Cleveland Browns in an questionable position when looking toward 2022. Beckham answered the uncertainty in his first week of training camp.
Beckham reached a significant milestone when he reported for Browns camp and passed his physical on Tuesday, clearing the way for him to fully participate from the commencement of Cleveland's preseason training activities. He's wasted little time in grabbing the eye of the Browns' decision-makers in his first week.
"You hear a lot of, 'Hey, this guy looks great coming off of an injury' and Odell ... honestly he's like a freak of nature sometimes," Browns general manager Andrew Berry said Friday, via the Akron Beacon Journal. "It really is amazing the amount of work he put in and where he is today. That's a huge credit to his focus and dedication in the offseason."
Beckham's style of play is one in which he uses his rare agility and burst to create space, catch passes and make defenders look foolish in their often vain attempts to bring him down. He's notorious for having incredibly quick footwork, a key attribute that can only truly exist when working with two healthy knees.
His health is once again his advantage, an outcome that wasn't guaranteed when he suffered the ACL tear in October.
"Odell's a dynamic player. He adds a dimension to our offense when he's on the field," Berry said. "We're obviously looking forward to his return this season. We want as many talented individuals as possible, and I think Odell's one of the more talented players at the position in the league."
Now comes a key period of time for Beckham and the Browns. While he's been cleared to play, management of Beckham's knee will be crucially important to ensuring he'll be able to complete a full season as an impact player.
Beckham is known for being the type of player who is very attuned to his body's response to stress, choosing to skip OTAs in previous years to train on his own in a method he knows is best suited for him. Now it's about working with that knowledge base to best approach the 2021 season.
"We will listen to the docs, we will listen to the trainers, we will listen to the performance staff and go by their data and their recommendation because the last thing we want to do with any player coming back from injury is load them too quickly and then ultimately have them have a setback," Berry said. "That will be pretty easy for us."
If all goes according to plan, the Browns will have their superstar receiver available to them from the start of the 2021 season -- a campaign in which they expect to contend for the AFC North title, and perhaps much more.
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