Odell Beckham Jr. surprised the uninitiated on Thursday when he told reporters that he’s been dealing with a minor hip injury, one that’s kept him from “opening up” to full sprints for the past few weeks of practice. Naturally, in this hyper-informed world of today, one that neglects individuality in favor of worshiping celebrities, the “news” sent quite a few people gasping for air. Cleveland media outlets immediately feigned “concern” that the injury-prone wide receiver won’t be at this best when the Browns hit the field Sunday to take on the Titans.
Never mind, of course, that nearly every player on the Browns 53-man roster is banged up. Never mind that head coach Freddie Kitchens was anything but soft with full-tackling periods during training camp. Never mind that wide receivers come into hard contact with defensive backs almost every play. There is a clear correlation between the level of physicality in practice and durability throughout the 16-game season. After all, in years past failed head coaches have given worried fans exactly what they want: veteran days off and healthy guys riding bikes on the sideline, all in an effort to avoid “injuries.”
Yet somehow the Browns ended up among the NFL’s most injured squads in each of those seasons.
The reality is that football is a violent game, no matter how much you neuter it with rules and regulations that confuse everyone on the field, even the officiating crew. You aren’t going to prepare for the grind of the upcoming season by making sure everybody is 100%. Yes, that includes your superstar players. Expecting practices to be neat, clean, and pretty is merely fooling yourself. Kitchens took the right approach in conditioning his team hard and embracing the “roughness” of football for the past six weeks.
It might not have been easy, but it was the right thing to do.
Now, Beckham’s tweak is not something to ignore, anything can happen especially with his injury history. However, Beckham seemed to be leading on that it won’t affect his game or his chemistry with Baker Mayfield at all Sunday, quipping:
“I’ll let you decide and [the media] can ask me after the game.”OBJ
His coach also wasn’t freaking out, as usual, saying, in response to questions surrounding Beckham’s injury:
“No, Odell’s ready to go.”Freddie Kitchens
The Browns are ready to burst out of the gate.
They’re itching to win football games since Mayfield threw a game-ending interception in Baltimore to close last season. Don’t let faux outrage from the media distract you from that. Nearly every single player is nicked, bruised, and banged up from a productive six weeks of training camp. Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the best receivers in the league and makes the offense lethal by his very presence. Stop obsessing about everything and just sit back and enjoy the show on Sunday.