He failed to mesh with quarterback Baker Mayfield. He battled through injury. He fell well short of the Pro Bowl form he showed in New York.
But it was apparently still a better experience than he had with the New York Giants in 2017. Beckham participated in a roundtable discussion with fellow NFL players Todd Gurley, Cam Newton and former Giants teammate Victor Cruz that was published Monday on YouTube.
Beckham considered retiring in 2017
He said he almost retired from football in 2017 in the aftermath of a gruesome ankle injury that cost him 12 games.
“I said this in college, I said, ‘I fear the day that they make this game a business and not what I love,'” Beckham said (28:40 mark below). “And when I seen that for the first time after breaking my ankle, like I thought about like not playing no more. Like this is not really it for me because they’ve ruined the game of football for me a little bit.”
He said the support of kids in the stands is what fueled him to keep playing.
“When I be on the sideline, and that little kid is, 'Do the whip, dance,' like that s--t is what fueled me," Beckham said. “That's what fueled me.”
Beckham didn’t clarify exactly what “make this game a business” meant in terms of the injury. But he clearly wasn’t happy with how that situation was handled.
Other issues in New York
The injury wasn’t his only issue in New York. Beckham said that he doesn’t believe the media treated him fairly while he was with the Giants. Incidents that made headlines like Beckham’s tussle with a kicking net became a point of contention for the wide receiver.
He accused reporters of misrepresenting his comments and said his portrayal in the media contributed to mental health struggles.
“When they took my authenticity and f---ed me over with it, I couldn’t deal with that,” Beckham said. “When I’m giving you real insight, yet I’m seeing the articles and you’re s----ing on me, it makes me not want to be that.
“So I ran into bigger problems with the f---ing world than myself. I struggled to deal with that, depression, mental health issues.”
Also, there was the losing. So much losing. After three years of winning in the SEC with LSU, Beckham has played a grand total of one playoff game since joining the NFL.
“When I first got to the league, that was a major adjustment for me — 6-10, 6-10. I wasn’t ever on no good teams,” Beckham continued. “I couldn’t deal with that. So you see the outlash on the field because I’m competitive.”
Will things get better with Browns?
As already noted, things aren’t exactly off to a hot start with his Cleveland reboot. The Browns not only failed to make the playoffs last season, they finished in third place in the AFC North at 6-10.
But there is hope in Cleveland. Beckham had surgery for a sports hernia in January and projects to be considerably healthier for the upcoming season. The Browns are still loaded with young talent. If he and Mayfield can get on the same page in their second season together, Beckham could end up playing in his second career playoff game and beyond.
If not, then Beckham’s stint with the Browns could start to look a lot like his time with the Giants.
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