Odell Beckham is back.
The Browns' star receiver did not appear on the team's Friday injury report, meaning he's expected to suit up and play for the first time in 2021 when Cleveland hosts the Bears. Beckham hasn't seen the field since he suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 7 last year.
Without Beckham, the Browns won seven of their final 11 contests last season, capping a surprising run to the playoffs with an upset win over Pittsburgh in their wild-card meeting. Cleveland could have used Beckham on many occasions, especially in the Browns' close loss to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round, but forged onward with a group consisting of Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge.
Landry is now the one on injured reserve following an MCL injury suffered in the Browns' Week 2 win over the Texans. He won't be suited up to welcome his best friend back to the field, but he'll hope to rejoin him following his three-week stay on IR.
Beckham was off to a strong start before his knee injury in 2020, catching 23 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns. His three-touchdown explosion (two receiving, one rushing) in Dallas helped the Browns upset the Cowboys in a shootout and stood as his best performance as a Brown, signaling hope he'd be able to rediscover his superstar form in 2020. The knee injury ended that optimism, as Beckham headed toward a long, largely secluded rehab process that saw him avoid speaking with reporters until this week.
With Beckham back in the fold, Cleveland will aim to improve its overall passing production. Baker Mayfield leads the league in completion percentage, but has thrown just one touchdown pass in two games: a 33-yard screen to rookie Demetric Felton. The Browns are remarkably strong at running back, meaning they don't need to rely on Mayfield to throw for 300-plus yards per game for them to have a chance to win. But getting Beckham involved certainly wouldn't hurt their offensive rhythm, with which they struggled in the first half Sunday.
Beckham's timing couldn't be better following Landry's injury. We'll see if it helps Cleveland improve to 2-1 Sunday against the Bears.