Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. spent a recent weekend in London as an ambassador for the NFL Academy, a league initiative aimed at providing student-athletes ages 16 to 18 in the U.K. an opportunity to work on life skills, education and football training.
Beckham took time out of his schedule for an interview with COMPLEX, where he talked about a variety of topics, from his new Nike shoe, to the NFL’s outreach in England and his interest in soccer.
Most importantly, at least as far as the Browns are concerned, Beckham spoke in very positive terms about leaving the New York Giants behind and coming to the Browns.
While he made the Pro Bowl three times in his five years with the Giants, Beckham believes he was not able to reach his full potential with New York:
“I just felt with the Giants I was just stuck at a place that wasn’t working for me anymore. I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to reach my full potential there; mentally, physically, spiritually, everything I felt capable of doing, I just couldn’t see it happening there. So I think allowing me to be in an environment where I can be myself and give it a different approach, I feel like my football will benefit. I’m just excited about being able to play football again and not have to deal with all the other stuff and politics that came with my previous role.”
Even though he has only been around the team for a few months, Beckham likes what he sees with the Browns and the opportunity to play again with wide receiver Jarvis Landry:
“I’m very excited by the culture at the Browns. It’s been building over the years, and they’ve got players over there who I just know I’m gonna click with. Jarvis is a brother of mine, and we dreamed of this moment. It’s just crazy that it’s actually happening. The percentage of people that make it to the NFL is less than 1%, so the chances of me playing with one of my brothers on the same team is a dream manifested, for sure.”
And if Browns fans like what they saw of Beckham in New York, they apparently are in for a treat this fall:
“I’m trying to achieve growth. I want to release myself from my past and have a fresh start. I’ve been waiting to explode in games, and I’ve been working extremely hard to get take my game to the next level. That’s exactly what I think I can do at the Browns.”
During his time with the Giants, Beckham put up numbers that average out to 105 receptions, 1,485 yards and 12 touchdowns over a 16-game season. And he accomplished that while, by his own admission, not being able to achieve his full potential.
If that is what he can do while not being in a positive environment, it is hard not to get excited about what will be able to accomplish now that he is in a better place with the Browns.