His comings and goings are automatically a story, so Odell Beckham Jr. not being at Browns’ OTAs on Wednesday is a big deal for some.
After an offseason trade to the Cleveland Browns, Odell Beckham Jr. seemed to think the level of attention he gets would go down. But it’s just not so, and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported Beckham is not at OTAs on Wednesday.
Beckham showed up for the first day of the Browns’ offseason program April 1, then stayed away again until Tuesday, the first day of more formal OTAs. Now he’s gone again after one day, leaving others to answer for his absence and/or when he might come back to the team.
According to Cabot, Wednesday is the only OTA session of the week that’s open to the media. So it’s possible, or likely actually, that Beckham just doesn’t want to answer questions related to his absence from practices that are still regarded as voluntary. But many of his new teammates have showed up for the offseason grind under new head coach Freddie Kitchens, as the Browns try to build a foundation amid heightened expectations for 2019.
In terms of talent and star power, Beckham obviously stands above most of his teammates. While it’s not a great look right now, and could create divisiveness in the locker room, as long as Beckham shows up in full when he has to, and is ready to go when things count, nothing else will ultimately matter.
Beckham’s presence on the first day of voluntary offseason work for the Browns feels symbolic, and not particularly meaningful. But his every move, and the attendant speculation on what he is or isn’t doing, is a story.
Here in mid-May, after the draft, is a slow time on the NFL calendar. So a big-name player like Beckham, a team with great interest around it and an absence from view for said player is automatically buzz-worthy. The Browns, at least at this point publicly, considers Beckham’s absence much ado about nothing.