OBJ is officially COVID free.
Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been cleared to return to the team, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. He’ll travel to Pittsburgh with the rest of his teammates on Saturday for Sunday’s showdown with the 4-0 Steelers.
The Browns sent Beckham home on Thursday with an illness, under a new twist in the NFL’s protocols that require players with potential COVID-19 symptoms to be removed from the facility even if they have yet to test positive. Beckham’s Friday and Saturday tests both came back negative.
Although Beckham never had COVID-19, the league’s procedures caused him to miss two key days of work in advance of a critical contest against a division rival. Coach Kevin Stefanski isn’t complaining about that.
“He was out here Wednesday and got some good work in Wednesday,” Stefanski said of Beckham on Friday, via Cabot. “He’s been in meetings virtually. [Receivers] coach [Chad] O’Shea is going to spend extra time with him in those meetings. If all goes according to plan for [Saturday], you spend even more time and you spend even more walkthrough time. I think there’s enough time to catch him up, barring his health.”
His health officially isn’t an issue; Beckham will play on Sunday. Whether he’s a significant part of the game plan (like he was against the Cowboys) or he’s largely a decoy (like he was against the Colts), Beckham continues to be a key piece of the offense.
And, yes, given that the team has found a way to win four games in a row and that Stefanski has found a way to keep Beckham happy even when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands (winning helps), I no longer think they should trade him.