Freddie Kitchens doesn't want his players discussing their teammates' injuries in public.
Yes, it seems absurd to even have to say that, but the Browns coach was forced to answer in such a manner less than 24 hours after his quarterback commented on his receiver's sports hernia, an injury that became public with NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport's reporting Sunday morning. Baker Mayfield told reporters after the team's win Sunday the Browns' training staff could have handled Odell Beckham Jr.'s injury better than it did, perhaps by opting for surgery in training camp instead of the route they ultimately chose.
"[Mayfield] understands that we don't want him addressing other players' injuries in that manner especially," Kitchens said Monday. "Odell and our training staff have done a tremendous job of getting Odell to the game each and every week up to this point. For that, they've done a good job. I understand everybody wants to ask a bunch of questions about it. But that's really the only info that I have without going into detail what Baker and I discussed, but it's been addressed and he understands how to handle things like that moving forward."
Mayfield later explained on Twitter he didn't mean to throw the Browns' training staff under the bus, and that he answered it emotionally after a hard-fought win. So, even if it really is something different with this team each week, at least that's settled.
What remains in question, though, is the status of Beckham. The receiver has been playing through the aforementioned injury, which can be seen as a valid reason for why he hasn't been nearly as productive as anticipated in his first season in Cleveland. He again went for less than 50 yards receiving Sunday, the fourth time that has happened in 13 games this season. And it all came as rumors continued to swirl about his happiness in Cleveland or lack thereof, and how it might affect his future.
That noise doesn't matter to Kitchens, who said there's been no discussion of shutting Beckham down and appreciates the receiver's contributions.
"I think he's helping the team. Odell's doing a great job," Kitchens said. "He wants to be out there for his teammates and I like him to be out there for his teammates. And he's been doing a good job of getting prepared during the course of the week to get to the game on Sunday."
The Browns still have very slim hopes of making the postseason, needing to both win out and receive plenty of help to get there. For this team, though, looking that far down the road is getting ahead of oneself. It's a day-by-day process in Berea.