Browns players support Mayfield, Beckham answering questions in “player speak”

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The Cleveland Browns are slowly working their way through a decision regarding the future of Odell Beckham Jr. He was excused from practice for the second day in a row on Thursday but, as expected, was the topic of a lot of questions during media sessions with players and coaches.

Some of the comments, specifically from John Johnson III, could spark controversy but overall were the player equivalent of “coach speak:”

Joel Bitonio

“If he wants to come back and be a part of the team, I am sure we would welcome him with open arms.”

Malcolm Smith

“That is how I feel, whether it is here or if he wants to be somewhere else – whatever he wants and what is best for him. Obviously, as a team, we would love to have him, but for me, I really do not spend too much time thinking about it.”

John Johnson III

“Like I said before, if there is any way that he can get back I the building, I will be tremendously happy, but you just have to move forward.”

The comment from Johnson that drew a lot of attention did not show up on the team’s official media transcript page but was sent out by the reporters present:

That sentiment has been the overwhelming sentiment from all of the players including Baker Mayfield on Wednesday. Johnson also shared his support for Mayfield during his press conference on Thursday:

Players primarily care about what helps the team win and believe Beckham can be a part of that. The front office and coaching staff’s jobs are to think bigger picture than just the immediacy.

For now, on the record, players are supporting Beckham from afar while, it seems, the team prepares for the upcoming departure from the team, in one way or the other. If the team and Beckham do finalize his departure, it will be interesting if any player speaks on the record negatively about the receiver.