Turns out, rumors of OBJ’s football demise were greatly exaggerated

The mercurial wide receiver is shining again in LA in Sean McVay’s offense

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Just when you thought he was washed up...
Just when you thought he was washed up...
Photo: Getty Images

Everything’s coming up Odell in 2022. Halfway through the fall, Odell Beckham Jr.’s future in the league looked dim. Season after season had been shortened by one injury or another, and he was in the middle of what was quickly turning out to be the worst year of his career — he hadn’t scored a single touchdown with the Browns throughout the first eight weeks of the season. We ourselves wrote that he “could be in the twilight of his career.” A clear lack of chemistry with Browns QB Baker Mayfield was highlighted by the wide receiver’s father, Odell Beckham Sr., making the interesting decision to share an 11-minute video of all the times his son was open but not targeted by Mayfield. Shortly after that incident, Beckham Jr. was let go by the Browns.

It was a mess, and certainly not the first mess in which Beckham had found himself. Known for his short temper — he has, in the past, tried to fight a kick net, punched a cooler, thrown a helmet, and more in moments of frustration — there was no way of ensuring that it was not Beckham himself who was the problem in Cleveland. A talented receiver, no doubt, but plagued by injuries and drama that seemed to follow everywhere he went, the Rams took what could have been a pretty big risk by signing him in his free agency. Things just as easily could have gone another way — he could have continued his slow season and decline, become frustrated with another quarterback, found himself in a bad fit with whichever team picked him up. But what happened last night may have made all the drama and insanity worth it.

When a parent steps in for their wealthy, successful adult child, the first reaction is definitely to cringe a bit. Whether or not you agree with the take, the first question in one’s mind is why a player’s family is saying these kinds of things publicly. It’s that knee-jerk “why can’t they stand up for themselves?” reaction. That’s not necessarily the kind of thing that really encourages people to be on your side (see most recently: Novak Djokovic’s father). His escape from Cleveland is the kind of thing that’s frowned upon in this day and age of sports, although that brings up more questions about why we deny players their liberties and choices of where they want to make their living. But there was without a doubt some hesitation to sign the WR, with both his talent and his cultural fit in question.


But after two and a half seasons with the Browns, in which Beckham saw seven touchdowns, he’s looking like his old self with the Rams, racking up six touchdowns since he moved to LA halfway through the season — including the first score of the night in the Rams’ beatdown of the Cardinals on Monday night. Not only did he get 54 receiving yards on MNF, he threw a 40-yard bomb to Cam Akers on a trick play that all but ended the Arizona’s season. Somehow, against all odds, Beckham has pulled his career out of its rapid downward spiral to become a favorite target for Matthew Stafford on a playoff-bound team.

What are the chances — he’s sent to Cleveland “to die,” as he himself puts it, controversially orchestrates his own departure after several severely below-average seasons, and it all, somehow, some way, works out for him. We haven’t seen the last of OBJ yet — the Rams take on the Buccaneers this Sunday.