An old saying claims that 80 percent of life is just showing up.
If that’s true, then Odell Beckham Jr. is batting no better than .400 at Cleveland Browns minicamp this week.
The newly acquired star wide receiver was there for the squad’s offseason team activities Tuesday, but was a no-show at Wednesday’s edition, according to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.
Rather conspicuously, Wednesday’s session was the only one open to the media.
Beckham joins a slew of Browns skill-position players who sat out the team’s unofficial media day, a possible sign of discord in the Cleveland ranks before even so much as a down of preseason football has been played.
Running back Duke Johnson has missed both days so far, though that’s not terribly surprising, largely because he’s already asked to be traded and has nothing to gain by turning the media spotlight onto himself as he tries to maneuver his way off the team.
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry was at Tuesday’s session but did not participate in OTAs on Wednesday either.
He instead chose to watch his teammates from outside the facility, Cleveland.com reported.
Running back Kareem Hunt, signed by the Browns in February as he awaited discipline from the league office over an alleged domestic violence incident, was at the facility Wednesday and addressed the media for the first time since his signing.
“It turned out to be good landing in a situation like the Browns, close to home again,” Hunt, who in March was suspended eight games, told reporters, according to Sports Illustrated.
“I just had to sit back [during my suspension] and keep faith and better myself as a person.”
Head coach Freddie Kitchens would, of course, love to have Beckham participating fully, but likely understands that stars often skip minicamps for a variety of reasons, from personal to simply not wanting to risk injury in a non-game situation.
Beckham lives in Los Angeles during the offseason, and he has been working out in Tinseltown and staying in game shape.
But on Tuesday, he did take ample opportunity to work with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, catching “numerous” passes from the signal caller, Cleveland.com reported.
“There’s no problem with Odell not being here,” Kitchens said after Beckham skipped out on a voluntary minicamp last month. “I’d rather him be here. He’s not here. It’s voluntary. That’s what the word voluntary means. He can decide to come or he can’t.”
But former Minnesota Vikings general manager Jeff Diamond ripped Beckham in a Wednesday column for the Sporting News.
He said Beckham’s no-show takes advantage of a “double standard” for star players and sends the wrong message to the rest of the team.
Diamond also ripped Kitchens for what he saw as enabling behavior.
But if the head coach is OK with Beckham missing minicamp, and if Beckham shows up for real camp in July, and most importantly, if the Browns build on their 5-2 finish in their final seven games last year after starting 2-5-1 under disgraced-and-fired head coach Hue Jackson, will anyone care if Beckham missed a few spring practices?
Football is a year-round sport. The NFL’s carefully managed media narrative means we go from the Super Bowl to the combine to the draft to minicamps to actual training camp with very little opportunity to take a breather.
Of course, this is the Cleveland Browns we’re talking about here.
Even when everything is going well, Browns fans are just waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the team to go 0-16 again.
So when Beckham skips minicamp and the coach essentially says, “Whatever, as long as he’s here in September,” one can’t help but think that Bill Belichick would’ve cut Beckham for even thinking about being a no-show.
To steal a line from Linus van Pelt of “Peanuts” fame: “Odell Beckham, of all the Cleveland Browns in the world, you’re the Cleveland Browniest.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.