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Odell Beckham Jr., Von Miller on Super Bowl quest for L.A. Rams, just as longtime friends hoped

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. emerged from the Los Angeles Rams’ locker room Sunday night and, in a departure from the norm, entered a room full of reporters.

Ordinarily after games, players are brought out individually. But after the Rams had secured a berth in the Super Bowl with a 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, the stars shared the moment – and some questions.

For starters, what’s it like for old friends but relatively new teammates to be headed to the Super Bowl together?

Miller squeezed Beckham’s left shoulder as they beamed.

“It’s unreal, man,’’ Miller said.

Miller, the eight-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker who was the Super Bowl 50 MVP, and Beckham, the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, worked out in Colorado Springs this offseason while rehabilitating from injuries.

They also talked about the possibility of suiting up for the same team.

“Didn’t ever think that it would really be possible,’’ Beckham said, “and here we are.’’

Teammates embrace Kobe Bryant's Mamba Mentality

Von Miller, right, trades jerseys with Odell Beckham Jr. after their game in Denver in 2019. The longtime friends are now teammates with the L.A. Rams.
Von Miller, right, trades jerseys with Odell Beckham Jr. after their game in Denver in 2019. The longtime friends are now teammates with the L.A. Rams.

Here they are, more than teammates for the Rams, who will play the Cincinnati Bengals on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Super Bowl 56.

On Sunday, they both referenced fatherhood. Miller became a first-time father in August when his ex-fiancée gave birth to a son and Beckham is expected to become a first-time father soon, with his girlfriend due to give birth to a boy.

They talked about God, and they have referenced their embrace of the Mamba Mentality work ethic that Kobe Bryant made famous.

MORE: Von Miller visited Kobe and Gianna Bryant crash site before NFC title game

Photographs have captured snippets of their friendship, which has included sitting courtside at the 2016 NBA All-Star Game and spending time at an amusement park, Six Flags Magic Mountain in California.

“He’s just a cool guy,’’ Miller said of Beckham. “He’s a funny guy to be around.’’

Of Miller, Beckham said, “This is a brother.’’

Von Miller celebrates with the George Halas trophy after the NFC Championship game.
Von Miller celebrates with the George Halas trophy after the NFC Championship game.

They met at the Pro Bowl in 2014 and this offseason felt they needed something extra to return to an elite level.

So last summer, they met for several weeks in Colorado Springs. Miller rehabbed from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the 2020 season and Beckham rehabbed from an ACL tear he suffered.

“They’re definitely both different individuals and what makes them tick is a little different,’’ said Chris Knott, who trained Miller and Beckham. “But when they’re together, there’s the push. You see some of the competitiveness come out, which is great. And you see the fun and the laughter.’’

Bonded by more than football

Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. says Von Miller started calling him as soon as the Cleveland Browns released him in November.
Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. says Von Miller started calling him as soon as the Cleveland Browns released him in November.

The laughter has gotten much louder.

Approaching midseason, the Denver Broncos were on their way to their fifth straight losing season when they traded Miller to the Rams on Nov. 1.

“I went to sleep 4-4 and woke up 7-1,” Miller said with a laugh at the time.

Later in the week, the struggling Cleveland Browns released Beckham, who began fielding calls from Miller and Jalen Ramsey, the Rams' All-Pro cornerback.

“Man, I remember everything was going down and I was getting that phone call from Von and Jalen,’’ Beckham said with a smile.

“Every day,’’ Miller said with a grin.

The real fun began in earnest after Beckham signed with the Rams on Nov. 11.

In 11 games since joining the Rams, Beckham has 46 receptions, including six for touchdowns, and 541 yards receiving while also completing a 40-yard pass. Miller, who also has played 11 games for the Rams, has recorded 43 tackles, including 16 for loss, and seven sacks, including a team-high two during the playoffs.

But this is a story about more than statistics. It’s about two friends who seemed destined to play for different teams and now share lockers across from each other at the Rams practice facility and are bonded by more than football as they chase Super Bowl rings.

“These are the moments we’ll be able to tell our sons about 20 years from now,’’ Miller said.

Follow Josh Peter on Twitter @joshlpeter11

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Super Bowl: Rams' OBJ, Von Miller in united quest, just as stars hoped