Beckham’s return to Browns moving closer to reality

Published 12:46 am Thursday, September 23, 2021

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Odell Beckham Jr.’s return moved a little closer to reality.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski did not rule out Beckham for Sunday’s game against Chicago, clearing the way for the star wide receiver to make his season debut and play for the first time since undergoing knee surgery last year.
“We’ll see how he progresses this week, but I expect him to be full go today at practice,” Stefanski said before the Browns worked out in their indoor field house because of heavy rain.
Last week, Stefanski slammed shut any speculation about Beckham’s status by saying he would not play against Houston days before the home opener.
Beckham had been in line to play Week 1 at Kansas City, but was ruled inactive following pregame warmups after telling the team he wasn’t prepared to handle the workload they had in store for him.
Stefanski was asked if the plan is for Beckham to play against the Bears.
“The plan is to practice Wednesday, see how it goes this week, but I’m not ruling him out,” Stefanski said.
Beckham has been listed as “limited” in every Cleveland practice through the season’s first two weeks.
On Tuesday, the 28-year-old, who recovered from anterior cruciate ligament surgery quicker than expected, looked like he has since training camp, running crisp routes with his customary bursts of speed.
Beckham’s return could come at an ideal time for the Browns, who will be without receiver Jarvis Landry for at least three games. Landry suffered a sprained knee ligament against the Texans and went on injured reserve Monday.
Stefanski remains noncommittal on Beckham, but appreciates what he can give quarterback Baker Mayfield and Cleveland’s offense.
“We’ll see how it goes, but I’ll tell you Odell has been great out here at practice,” Stefanski said. “He’s working really hard. He’s gotten a ton of reps with just him and Baker, a ton of reps in seven-on-seven and the team drills. I think the guys recognize that he is a dynamic football player.”
When other Cleveland players have come back from injuries, they’ve typically been eased back with limited playing time. Stefanski was asked if Beckham would be on a reduced number of snaps once he’s back on the field.
“We’ve got to be smart with any player coming off of an injury,” he said. “We have to be mindful of where that player is and then make decisions on a case-by-case basis. Specific to Odell, if he plays in the game, I can’t tell you if there will be a pitch count or not.”

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