Beckham woke up Friday morning to Twitter notifications saying he’d signed a deal with the Buffalo Bills.
We all know how social media is with the fake accounts and the constant stream of rumors, which may or may not be accurate, clogging our timelines daily. Imagine waking up, and the first thing you see upon wiping the crud out of your eyes and turning on your phone is that you’ve signed a new contract you know nothing about.
The culprit of this prank is @bleatchereport, who posted this last Thursday. It’s easy to see how this could be mistaken by the outside world at first glance. They’ve got the logo, but no blue verification check mark. So that should’ve been the first indication that this was a hoax. There’s also no “T” in the word “bleacher”.
Obviously, OBJ knew he hadn’t signed a contract to play in Buffalo, and as you see, he went along and had some fun with it himself. But once you get past the silliness of this “report” from a fake account, it hits you that Odell Beckham Jr. is heading into year nine of his career without a team and training camps opening up in a matter of weeks.
Beckham is a man without an NFL home. He remains unsigned after tearing his ACL in the Rams’ Super Bowl victory in February. This is understandable given his injury history over the past few years. He’ll be signed at some point but probably not before the season starts in September.
Along with the injuries, the narrative of OBJ being a head case still seems to follow him. To an extent, that’s fair, but he seems to have matured over the last few years. With the Giants, that was certainly true in some regard, but not as much in Cleveland. And by the time Beckham got to the Browns, he was no longer the young phenom he’d been in New York.
Fame hit Odell like a ton of bricks and seemingly overwhelmed him in NYC. It all happened so fast. Beckham caught 91, 96, and 101 passes in his first three seasons in the NFL playing for the Giants. That type of immediate production will put a player on the map in any market, but in the Big Apple, it makes you a megastar. That’s too much for most 23 year olds to handle and process maturely.
What really set things in motion for OBJ is the catch against the Dallas Cowboys over Brandon Carr on Sunday Night Football. I’ll spare you my rant on Carr but let’s put it like this… One career ceased to exist after this play, and the other was strapped to a rocket ship headed to the moon and a dinner date with LeBron.
Everything aligned perfectly at that moment for OBJ. Even in losing the game, Beckham became OBJ that night. Wide receivers get the “diva” label, but only once they’ve accomplished enough to be a star. Once he became a star, we began to see the attitude contributing to his eventual split with the Giants.
There was the infamous kicking net incident where he took out his frustration by swinging his helmet at the net, and the net swung back. Beckham later apologized to the kicking net by proposing after a game-winning touchdown catch against Baltimore. This is Odell’s personality, but these acts only fly when you play well. We know that story.
We can’t forget the one many people seemed most outraged about. The “boat pic” with Trey Songz. I don’t see anything wrong with taking a few days to get away on a trip with friends. But when you’re in the spotlight as a professional athlete in that New York market, you probably shouldn’t do it the week leading up to a big playoff game. Obviously, it’s not against the law; it just doesn’t look good. That picture only gets negative press when you follow it up with four catches for 28 yards on 11 targets, and two drops, one in the end zone. And they lost that playoff game, of course.
OBJ also had an extended beef with former Carolina and Washington cornerback Josh Norman. That one got pretty personal and was just another thing Beckham gave the media to talk about and distract from his production on the field. It’s crazy how once things start to crumble, it isn’t long before you’re staring at rubble.
Of course, the injuries haven’t helped OBJ since leaving the Giants and the Baker Mayfield drama last year. It’s hard to blame Beckham entirely for things not working out in Cleveland, but nobody came away from that situation looking good. But I can understand a father growing tired of his son catching all the blame when he’s got an average QB slinging the ball over his head and behind him half the time.
Just when it looked like Beckham had matured and was on a winning team, playing in the Super Bowl, injury struck again.
Today, OBJ is still a good receiver. Let’s not act like he isn’t. But he’ll be 30 later this year and coming off another ACL injury. I don’t know how many teams will be vying for his services once he’s able to play again.
It really sucks to see someone who could grab the world with his finger tips, and can barely find a franchise to call home just a few years later.