Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. says he's had a torn labrum for 10 years, commiserates with Baker Mayfield
BEREA — Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. revealed Thursday he’s been playing with a torn labrum in his left shoulder since his days at Louisiana State University, which means he understands the pain quarterback Baker Mayfield is experiencing.
Sources confirmed that Mayfield suffered a partially torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder while trying to make a tackle in a Sept. 19 home victory over the Houston Texans. Mayfield’s accuracy has dropped dramatically in the last two games against the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.
“I don’t really care to talk about injuries, but I’ve had this since college. It’s the same thing he’s got,” Beckham said. “I guess you all found out. I’ve had it for 10 years now.
“It is what it is. I want to go out there and play football, do whatever I gotta do.”
Asked Thursday if it does that all the time, Beckham said, “Been happening.”
As for whether that will continue to be the case until he undergoes surgery, Beckham said, “Forever until you probably get it fixed."
In his eighth NFL season, Beckham said he wants to avoid surgery. He had the ACL repaired on Nov. 10, and underwent hip/groin surgery after the 2019 season.
“I don’t want to be on the surgery table anymore. So, you keep working it,” Beckham said of the shoulder injury. “You work the muscles around it, you do all of that and then you just go out and play and forget about it. By the time you get out there, you forget about it.”
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Beckham said he understands how the injury can affect Mayfield’s throws.
“I tell you, that s** hurts, so he’s tough,” Beckham said of Mayfield. “It doesn’t feel good. There’s days where I woke up that first day after Monday I couldn’t lift the arm. You heard that little [pop sound].
“But it is what it is. We’re gonna go play football. He’s tough. He’s gonna go play.”
Two games into his comeback, Beckham said he wasn't exhausted Sunday against the Vikings like he was against the Bears on Sept. 26, when he caught five of his nine targets for 77 yards and ran once for a 10-yard gain.
“First game I played 52 plays, the next game I played 62 plays, and as the game went on I started to feel more and more in shape. My legs started to come back underneath me,” Beckham said.
Against the Vikings, Beckham and Mayfield connected only twice for 27 yards on seven targets, with their biggest miss on a deep third-down pass with 1:08 remaining. But Beckham said he doesn’t believe he and Mayfield are struggling to develop chemistry.
"Talked to him after the game. Talked to him during the game. Talked to him after meetings. Played [Call of] Duty with him," Beckham said. "We chop it up all of the time. I don’t really know if there’s a ... that word keeps being thrown around like chemistry as much as just [the] second game back.
“Anybody who is great and expects greatness out of himself is going to be upset when they miss an opportunity. He wants to be great. I want to be great, so, yeah, we want perfection. We want the best, but it happens.”
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Asked if the long incompletion was indicative of some issues, Beckham said, “Us as a whole — coaches, players, the person throwing it, the person catching it, just being on the same page.”
Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said Mayfield and Beckham were “very close” on their missed connections in Minnesota.
“Really, if you complete two of those throws, Odell is well over 100 yards, and everybody's not saying a word,” Van Pelt said Thursday. “Deep balls are tough to complete. Your completion percentage is lower on those. But we were just off a hair.
“The one ball he had down the right side, he had to step up and maneuver some pressure, which was a tough throw. That one was close. And the one at the end of the game, I take as much responsibility for that as anybody. As the coordinator, I've repped that play multiple times versus a zone coverage and we had driven the ball into that spot knowing that the safety and the corner would react. And this was a man look that I have not prepared those guys for.”
Beckham’s longest reception this season was 26 yards against the Bears. He doesn’t know if one big play will be the breakthrough he and Mayfield need.
“I don’t know if I really feel the pressure to like, ‘We gotta connect once and then it’s like the weight off our back,’” Beckham said. “The type of person I am, once I connect, I’m going to be like, ‘Twenty more of them.’ It’s gonna come. It’s gonna happen. Just stay patient.”
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Beckham is taking a positive attitude, and that includes the Browns winning 14-7 in Minnesota despite Mayfield completing 15 of 33 passes for 155 yards and a 59.5 rating.
“I’ve seen enough football to know ... the teams that wouldn’t win a game like that because of those things,” Beckham said. “We’re a team that can overcome all those obstacles. The bottom line is this team each and every Sunday is most likely gonna win. The goal is to win, and I think we have a great team. When it all starts clicking, then I’m sure you might see 40 points up there. If not, still find a way to win.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about the Browns at www.beaconjournal.com/browns. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.