Odell Beckham has arrived at training camp amid a long rehab and major Browns hype in past years. Pressed with both circumstances this summer, his perspective is a bit different.
The dynamic wide receiver is now focused on the long game.
As it concerns his health, he said that could mean not being full-go in camp or playing in the season opener.
"At this point we're just running our race," he told reporters Sunday at his youth football camp, per Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. "I feel like in the past, I've been caught up in this question and I'm just not realty here for it anymore. It's whenever I'm ready to get out on the field, that's when it will be. Whenever the team, the docs, my team, everything gets cleared, we'll be ready to go. So whenever that is, Week 1, Week 17, I don't know. It's just whenever we're ready, we'll be ready."
The three-time Pro Bowler added that his ego pushed him to return prematurely in the past, in turn hurting his performance. Beckham asserted he's taking a different approach after tearing his ACL last October, the second season-ending injury of his career. He was a light participant in minicamp last month and has drawn rave reviews from teammate Jarvis Landry.
OBJ is encouraged with how far along he is, although he kept the progress of his knee vague.
"Everything is feeling great. For being at the eight-and-a-half, nine-month mark, I'm doing very well in all our progressions," he said. "I can't wait to be back and be able to do more football stuff. Whenever you have these offseasons and you have to train, you have to do physical therapy for so long of it. It just starts to weigh down on you. But I'm just excited to be back, excited to see all the boys."
The eighth-year veteran is talking like someone who's much more concerned with team objectives than personal ones. He said winning a Super Bowl has driven him most during his latest rehab.
"Most important. It's the only reason," Beckham said. "The only reason to do this is to get one of them rings."
Much like the previous offseason, there was murmurs that maybe Beckham didn't want to be in Cleveland any longer. The narrative effectually fizzled after he spent time with Baker Mayfield. The two have sort of a complicated history, with the young quarterback inexplicably performing better without the star wideout at his disposal over two seasons as teammates.
But the Browns' success last winter without Beckham only made him more confident in their collective future.
"I came back for a reason," Beckham said. "I feel like we have a special opportunity. I was down in Austin with Bake and seeing him a few times since then, just kicking it, hanging out. It's just something that feels special about this team. As I said when I first got here, I wanted it to be like the Patriots. You want to win Super Bowls. I watched [Cleveland] compete last year, and the one game that hurt me the most is watching Kansas City and feeling like, man, I know that I could have made one play, just something to help the team win.
"I think that there's something special going on. There's something special with this city. Watching the Bucs win a championship inspires you even more. Cleveland needs a championship, and I think that's the goal, that's the mentality in that building and that's what I want to be a part of."