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OBJ vague on Browns future amid worst season

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Published in Breaking News
Thursday, 05 December 2019 12:12

BEREA, Ohio -- As the 5-7 Cleveland Browns have all but tumbled out of the playoff picture, star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was vague about his future with the team beyond the 2019 season.

"No one knows what the future holds, like tomorrow," Beckham said when asked after Thursday's practice if he wants to be in Cleveland next year. "I couldn't tell you what's going to happen."

In his first season with the Browns, Beckham is having the worst statistical year of his career, excluding his injury-riddled 2017 season with the New York Giants.

Through 12 games, Beckham has only 57 catches, 805 receiving yards and just two touchdowns. He's also gone six consecutive games without topping 100 receiving yards for the first time in his career.

Beckham, who is under contract through 2023, didn't say that he wants to leave Cleveland on the heels of such a disappointing season, but he didn't exactly commit to the Browns past this year, either.

"I couldn't sit here and tell you whether I'm going to be here, want to be here, don't want to be here," Beckham said. "This is exactly where I'm at now, and I wouldn't rather be anywhere else."

Beckham referenced his close relationship with wide receiver teammate Jarvis Landry as a reason for "how special this could be." At the same time, however, he noted "everything will figure itself out" this offseason.

"I feel like I've been here before asking questions about the next team while I'm on a team already," said Beckham, whom the Browns acquired from the Giants in a blockbuster trade this past offseason. "That's something I just tune out for right now. Catch me in the offseason and see what happens."

Beckham's curious comments came after a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers dealt a devastating blow to the Browns' playoff chances.

Against the Steelers, Beckham had just three catches for 29 yards on only six targets.

"I don't think it's anything intentional," said Beckham, when asked why the Browns have struggled so frequently in getting him the ball, especially in critical moments. "I just think teams have played us a certain way. They've done some things to keep me from getting the ball. It's on everybody."

Beckham, however, did admit to being especially frustrated when he doesn't get the ball from quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Browns lose. "Along with any other position, you want to help, period," Beckham said. "You do get the ball, you don't get the ball ... ultimately what fixes everything is winning. When you don't win, that's when you can see problems ... tension. The answer is always in winning."

Browns coach Freddie Kitchens was asked Wednesday whether Beckham had expressed any frustration at his lack of targets or catches this season, especially in the red zone, where he's been targeted only seven times.

"Odell has not been a problem at all," Kitchens said. "Really, if it was not Odell, we would not be even asking these questions about that kind of outlier type stuff. Odell has been fine. He has been good. Helps everybody, helps the young guys. Baker and Odell have a good dialogue. Everything is good."

Beckham said that while he's "not having a good season," he's done well controlling his emotions, even when he's been frustrated like he was Sunday.

"It's definitely been a concerted effort from me just to keep myself in check, know that everyone is watching," Beckham said before referencing past antics with the Giants. "Know they want to see me mad or throw a helmet or punch a cooler or hug a kicking net. They want to see those things, and I've made that effort and decision and choice to not allow that."

Following the loss to Pittsburgh, the ESPN Football Power Index now gives Cleveland just a 5.2% chance of sneaking into the AFC's final wild-card spot. The Browns would also have to win out, including upsetting the AFC North Division-leading Baltimore Ravens, to have any hope at the playoffs.

Beckham said that if "it's possible that we can make the playoffs, I'm all in." But he also admitted that "there's been a lot of disappointment" and there are "areas we expected more of ourselves," as the star-studded Browns rank just 22nd in the NFL in offensive efficiency.

"What's the future hold? I don't know that," Beckham said. "I don't know the answers for that. Right now I'm just taking it a day at a time, trying to finish the season healthy, win the last four games and see what happens."

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