Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham have said all the right things publicly about the latter playing for the Browns. But with each passing day, it becomes clearer the big-name wide receiver isn't necessarily in good standing with the team. A day after Cleveland reportedly discussed a potential Beckham trade with the Saints, and a day after Beckham's father ripped Mayfield for failing to connect with his son on the field, the Browns have excused the wideout from Wednesday's practice. Not only that, but CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reports they may tell Beckham to stay away from the team for the remainder of the 2021 season.
CBS Sports HQ's Josina Anderson first reported the news of the receiver's practice absence, noting Wednesday that Beckham "was ready to attend practice per usual," but received notice that he had been excused from participation. Yahoo's Charles Robinson further indicates that the team initiated the decision, suggesting Beckham and the Browns have reached a "crossroads." The two sides may be able to reach "some sort of financial resolution to end his time in Cleveland," La Canfora reports, but as of now, the Browns are not willing to waive Beckham and appear "willing to burn a 53-man roster spot just for him to stay away."
The Browns officially listed Beckham as a practice absentee due to a non-injury-related personal matter, along with a previous shoulder injury. Coach Kevin Stefanski, meanwhile, told reporters later Wednesday that Browns general manager Andrew Berry is talking with Beckham's agent about the wideout's status. Mike Silver reports Stefanski also informed players earlier that Beckham Jr. is "essentially not on the team right now," and that the receiver has been told to stay home.
Mayfield and Stefanski have expressed public support for the former Giants star's future in Cleveland, but Beckham has increasingly struggled to stand out on the Browns offense, with reports dating to 2020 indicating an uneven relationship with the team's quarterback. This week, Beckham's dad posted a reel of Odell's missed opportunities in Cleveland, attributing the receiver's lack of production to Mayfield, while Lakers superstar LeBron James -- a friend of Beckham and Cleveland sports icon -- added fuel to the fire by urging the Browns on Twitter to "free" Beckham.
In six games for the Browns this year, Beckham has managed just 17 catches for 232 yards. He played just seven games in 2020 due to injury after debuting for Cleveland with his fifth career 1,000-yard campaign in 2019.