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Odell Beckham: Trade to Cleveland was “personal”

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Browns wide receiver tells Sports Illustrated that the Giants trading him had nothing to do with business side of football.

NFL: Preseason-Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The hype surrounding the Cleveland Browns continues to grow as the team approaches the start of the 2019 NFL regular season.

With that hype has come a renewed interest in the team on a national level, with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. often being at the center of attention. (Unless it is quarterback Baker Mayfield’s turn.)

Such was the case on Tuesday, when Sports Illustrated released a profile on the rise of the Browns as part of its annual NFL season preview. In it, they revisit the March trade that brought Beckham to town.

It was a trade, in Beckham’s mind, where the Giants turned down better offers and intentionally sent him to Cleveland as a way to punish their star wide receiver:

“This wasn’t no business move. This was personal. They thought they’d send me here to die.”

This is not the first time that Beckham expressed himself about the trade, as he told COMPLEX earlier this summer that the Giants were holding him back on the field:

“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.”

Beckham also told GQ magazine that he felt disrespected by the trade:

“My initial reaction was not disappointment.… I felt disrespected. Like, after everything I’ve done for them. This is me being honest: This team has not been good for the last six years. Period. ... I felt disrespected, because I felt like I was a main reason at keeping that brand alive. They were getting prime-time games, still, as a 5-and-11 team. Why? Because people want to see the show. You want to see me play. That’s just real rap. I’m not sitting here like, “It’s because of me.” But let’s just be real. That’s why we’re still getting prime-time games. I felt disrespected they weren’t even man enough to even sit me down to my face and tell me what’s going on.”

The Giants may have believed they were sending Beckham off to the NFL’s version of hell.

But given that they sent Beckham to a team with a top 10 quarterback in Mayfield and his best friend, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, the Giants may have given Beckham the best gift that he could have wished for.