Odell Beckham Jr. says he's 'almost giddy' with the Cleveland Browns

·Yahoo Sports Columnist

Odell Beckham Jr. is back in Cleveland this week, taking part in mandatory minicamp with the Browns.

He did not participate in eight of the team’s nine voluntary OTA sessions, and while rookie head coach Freddie Kitchens was mostly supportive of Beckham’s decision, he did let it slip last week that the receiver had missed “a lot...the offense” by not being with the Browns for OTAs.

On Wednesday, the 26-year-old spoke after practice with media for a nearly 20-minute interview that touched on several topics, from his not being present for those voluntary workouts to how a relatively benign quote went viral, and how he wants to move forward but feels like others won’t let him.

Here are some of the highlights:

On learning the playbook and working into the offense: “I’m still getting there. I feel good, though, just to be back out here. It’s what you’ve dreamed all your life, just a new place, new environment, so just catching on, catching up with teammates ....

“I’ve always been a pretty smart guy as far as when it comes to the playbook, so it won’t be too hard to pick up.”

Odell Beckham Jr. said he feels like the new kid in school with the Cleveland Browns, which he likes because he gets to meet new people. (AP)
Odell Beckham Jr. said he feels like the new kid in school with the Cleveland Browns, which he likes because he gets to meet new people. (AP)

Where he’s playing on the field: “Everywhere. Everywhere. It just creates matchup problems. Some receivers, they [only] go to the left side, they go to the right side. When you have somebody who can move all the way around, it helps the offense out more, you can’t really game plan for it, you don’t know exactly where I’m going to be.”

Why he wasn’t at OTAs: “Everybody knows their body; I know my body better than anyone else. I know what it takes to get me in top physical condition, mental, all those things. This isn’t my first rodeo; I just know what it takes to get there ...

“Coach [Kitchens] and I have a different plan than everybody else knows, we talked and communicated throughout the entire offseason, he knew my whereabouts and when I’d be here, when I wouldn’t be. Everybody kind of knew the game plan. I’m just taking my time, easing back into it. The good thing is, we play in September.”

How happy he is to be in Cleveland and in a new situation: “Words don’t even really do it justice, being out here. I’m almost giddy; I feel like a little kid, the excitement that I have, seeing Baker [Mayfield] ... We talk a lot about this offense, but this defense is something special, and this team is really coming together. The good part about it is it’s only June, beginning of June. We still have a lot of time, still have a whole training camp to go through, and I feel like this team’s really going to come together. But I’m beyond excited about the opportunity I have to start over. Obviously the goal is going to always be the same — to hang banners, that’s what you play this game for, but we know we’ve got a lot of expectations, we know we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ll get there.”

How he’ll react if numbers go down because there are other receivers to get the ball: “More celebrations. Different ways for us to celebrate. This game’s about winning. I know some of us get stuck up on numbers, but this game’s about winning. I’d much rather be in the playoffs than go for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns, because to me I’m supposed to do that anyway. Being at home and having to end the season like that, that’s never going to be good enough for me. I’m ready to get back to the playoffs.”

On building chemistry with Mayfield, and his thoughts on the quarterback: “The good news is, we play in September, you know? So we’ve got a lot of time to build chemistry. We’re both going to be in L.A., that’s where he stays, and we’ll pretty much be throwing every day, going over all the plays, all the little nuances [caught recorder he whacked] that, just, the little stuff, above the Xs and Os stuff. The stuff that’s in the playbook, but when the coach calls the play, it’s the 11 guys out there that’s going to make it happen....

“I’ve watched Baker since Oklahoma; I think i’s the confidence he carries himself with. You can’t coach that in anybody - that’s something that comes from within you. And he really has that, and it’s on display always. You have to love that about him. Also, I’m [going to have] to get adjusted to the speed. He’s got an arm. He’s throwing that ball hard. Just catching him from the first day, it was like, ‘wow, this is completely different.’”

He likes the Browns, and still can’t believe he’s getting to play with close friend and LSU teammate Jarvis Landry: “This is a different atmosphere, a different energy ... I’m excited to be back with my brother [Landry], first and foremost. I know I’ve talked about it before, but it’s still surreal. Like I sit next to him in a meeting and I look over and I just pat him, you know, tell him I love him. This is crazy. The chances of you making the NFL are already so slim, and then the chance of you being on the same team — like I said before, we talked about having a house next to each other, being neighbors, all that, and now it’s finally here. I think we’re all excited about the opportunity.”

On the viral reaction to his May comment that he wants to turn the Browns “into the new Patriots”: “I’m not surprised with anything. I feel like I can sit in the corner in a room full of people and not try and bother anybody and i would be like, ‘Are you too good to be out here with the rest of us?’ I can’t — it’s just a tough situation for me to be in. Anything I say I know is going to take off. There might be one line I say today that’s going to be something tomorrow. I’ve gotten used to it. As hard as it is, I’ve gotten used to it. But who wouldn’t aspire to be the Patriots? Who wouldn’t want to be an 11-5, 12-4 team, win the division, go to the AFC championship every single year, go to the Super Bowl.

“I don’t know why else you got in this game. I didn’t get in this game to get money or anything like that, I got in this game to be a champion. All my life, I’ve never really been a champion. I’ve gotten to the championship game. I want to win. I want to be a champion. Who wouldn’t want to be like the Patriots? They’re a top team year-in and year-out, they’re going far and deep into the playoffs. That’s obviously the goal. That’s the mentality I have and will always have.”

On him comparing Mayfield to Brett Favre: “It’s crazy, when I say stuff like that — I watch football. I really, really watch football. And that is a good comparison in my eyes. I loved Brett Favre growing up, Baker has a lot of similarities to him. They put the highlights together, it looks the same. Obviously he’s going to have to go out and put the work in for however many years he plays and hopefully I can help him put up numbers, whatever he needs to do, win championships, but in my eyes he has the talent to do whatever he wants to do.”

On being scrutinized: “I don’t think anybody knows what it’s like to be me but me. Every single thing I have to deal with, and that’s something that, like, nobody else, I feel like, has to deal with. I feel like I’m in a way different position than anybody else in the NFL, I feel like I deal with more, I take more, cool.

“There’s things I’ve done things in the past, but as a man I’ve tried to grow a lot and try to put a lot of stuff behind me, and it just keeps getting brought up. I’m moving forward, and it’s like the only thing that we can do is bring up my past. I’ve never been in trouble, I’ve never been in handcuffs, I’ve never even gotten a speeding ticket really. I’ve done things in the past but I’m trying to keep it pushing. ...Mentally, physically, spiritually, I’ve gone to a different place. For the people that know me, they know I’m in a place I’ve never been to in my entire life. I’m just happy with where I’m at. I’m always going to keep it pushing, shots get taken, I’m Quick Draw McGraw, they’re going to get taken back. That’s just how it is. But I am trying to grow and mature and be a man, and I’ve taken big steps to that and I’m just going to keep moving forward.”

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