Odell Beckham and the Browns are no longer together, but Cleveland still has a game to play Sunday.
Their opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, resides in the opposite corner of the state and in second place in the AFC North standings. There's little time for tearful goodbyes.
"We're moving on," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said of Cleveland's decision to release Beckham, via Cleveland.com. "It's unfortunate how it happened. I think it's unfortunate for both sides, but we have to move on and put our focus on this game versus Cincinnati."
The week of drama that resulted in Beckham's departure began when Beckham's father, Odell Beckham Sr., shared a video compilation of the many times Beckham has been open, but hasn't been targeted by Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. It continued with Beckham Sr. replying affirmatively to responses disparaging Mayfield's ability and motivation in the Instagram post's comments, and was capped off by a tweet from fellow Nike athlete LeBron James, who requested Cleveland "#FreeOBJ" as the trade deadline approached.
Cleveland did not free Beckham via trade. The Browns ended up doing so by cutting him, relegating him to next week's waiver wire.
Stefanski said he hasn't spoken with Beckham Jr. this week but will reach out at some point, adding he holds "no ill will" and "both sides are going to move on." The coach was far from the only member of the organization to field questions regarding Beckham, with Mayfield being forced to answer his own series of inquiries about the drama created by Beckham's father and certainly not quelled by Beckham Jr.
Mayfield said during the week he wasn't hurt by the sequence of events and remains focused on getting the Browns back over .500 this weekend in Cincinnati. Stefanski appears to believe Mayfield -- who is playing through a torn labrum and shoulder fracture -- is ready to get the job done.
"I think all of us have to move forward," the coach said. "We have a challenge on Sunday right in front of us. Baker had a good week of practice, and I think he's ready to go."
As for Beckham's best friend, Browns receiver Jarvis Landry, and his reaction to the exit of his longtime pal, Stefanski kept it simple: "He's a pro."
The Browns will need all hands on deck to beat the upstart Bengals and earn a victory Stefanski said he felt the Browns were "desperate" to secure.
"I think a win would galvanize this team," Stefanski said.
With Beckham now no longer involved, Cleveland will take a trip back to 2020, a season in which the Browns lost Beckham to an ACL tear but caught fire offensively without the receiver. They'll hope to produce a similar result in a return to the stadium in which Beckham suffered his knee injury.
This time, though, Beckham won't be on the bus to the stadium. He'll be packing up to head elsewhere, while his now-former teammates aim to get back on track.