Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns won’t say when the wide receiver will make his preseason debut, but they don’t appear particularly concerned about a hip injury that has kept him sidelined from team drills all week.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Beckham said he had “no idea” whether the team planned to play him in the preseason, deferring to coach Freddie Kitchens on that question. But he did nod when asked if the current issue was something he could play through during the regular season.
“It’s nothing,’’ Beckham said of the injury. “I’ve been in this position before, headlines get made and there’s just so much good stuff going on with this team, so many players who are out here practicing and they are competing and it’s enjoyable for me to be able to be out there with them and be able to sit there and watch and learn the plays and see these guys compete. So for me, it’s like I don’t want to focus so much on me. I’m good.”
Beckham sat out last week’s preseason opener against the Redskins, and Kitchens declined to say whether Cleveland’s marquee offseason acquisition would play Saturday against the Colts. Both men clearly are pointing to the Sept. 8 season opener against the Titans as the only date that really matters.
“I’m not worried about Odell at all,” Kitchens said. “He’ll be ready to go mentally and physically.’’
While Beckham acknowledged he would prefer to be getting as many reps as possible with quarterback Baker Mayfield, he said the two have other ways to bond.
“Maybe go to the movies. Something like that,’’ Beckham said. “We’ll figure out something to do. Me and him, we talk every day. We talk football. We talk about just the little ins and outs of football. Even when I’m watching him make other throws, I’m still coming to ask him ‘what is it that you’re seeing.’
“We just talked football today, so it’s not something I’m worried about. It’s two competitive, fiery people, just the way that he is, I don’t want to let him down. So I’m going to do everything in my power to be exactly where I need to be when I need to be there. As I’ve seen already, he’s going to deliver that ball.”
And the Browns are doing everything they can to make sure Beckham is available to be on the receiving end, which is no guarantee given his injury history. But, it’s early.
“It’s just preseason, there’s no point in trying to push anything right now,” Beckham said. “We play Sept. 8, so that’s all you really get ready for.”