By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8
As a fan of the Cleveland Browns, I am often on the wrong end of trades or free agent signings.
But things have started to change for this team, and for once they were on the winning side of a deal!
While I have some sympathy for New York Giants fans, it’s every fan for themselves in the NFL. And the addition of Pro-Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., has definitely lifted my hopes from having a winning season to now having playoff and – dare I say – Super Bowl aspirations.
In a trade that sent the Browns first-round draft pick and safety Jabrill Peppers – who was a first round pick – to the Giants in return for Beckham, general manager John Dorsey took another step towards cementing his standing as a football genius among Browns fans. This trade brings an incredibly important piece to the Browns, a sure-handed receiver and deep threat that could prove to be a valuable target for quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The excitement last season as Mayfield proved why he was the right choice was beyond amazing. What is even more amazing is how little fans worry about not having a first-round draft pick once your team has their franchise QB on the roster! After going through nearly 30 of them, the relief of having finally gotten right is palpable.
The addition of Beckham was one where fans, myself included, were seen screaming in joy regardless of where they were. (I’m pretty sure I’ve been banned from a local craft store.) As we hunger for the football season to get here quickly – hey, let’s just skip the draft and start playing! – the Browns gave us a little taste of what was to come today.
Today was a Trifecta for Cleveland sports fans! On April Fool’s Day of all days, the Browns started voluntary workouts, the Cleveland Indians had their home opener, and the Cavaliers play tonight in Phoenix.
The Browns got the ball rolling with a press conference to introduce OBJ to the city.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 1, 2019
Amidst concerns on social media that Beckham might not be happy about the trade, that he had “gone dark” and stayed off of Instagram for a few days, his arrival today was monumental. Frankly, this tweet from him told me all I needed to know so I wasn’t concerned.
I ain’t gone lie..I woke up feeling dangerous!! 😭😭😭
— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) March 24, 2019
Beckham’s off-season plans had to be adjusted since he didn’t have to report until April 15th to the Giants. The Browns have a new head coach, so they are able to start two weeks earlier, thus Beckham had to change his schedule. That he was willing and able to be here for the first day says a lot about his commitment to his new team and the friendly faces he knows that were already here.
WR Jarvis Landry has been a close friend since they went to LSU together. Quarterback Baker Mayfield played at Oklahoma with one of his former Giants teammates, Sterling Shepherd, and they’ve done workouts together. And don’t forget Adam Henry, the current wide receivers coach for the Browns who was also Beckham and Landry’s coach at LSU.
One thing about the press conference that I found to be a genius public relations move by the Browns, was having four men on the stage with mics and not just Beckham by himself. They sat looking like what could become the Mt. Rushmore of the new Browns: defensive end Myles Garrett, Landry, Beckham and then Mayfield.
— PatMcManamon (@PatMcManamon) April 1, 2019
New head coach Freddie Kitchens has stressed that this is a TEAM and by putting these team-minded men on the stage together, he is reinforcing that attitude. No star treatment for the new guys, no matter how much success he’s had. He’s part of the team. And with Garrett stepping up as a leader for the defense, it shows team unity.
If the “Fabulous Baker Boys” are the future of the Cleveland Browns, things just got a lot brighter around here!
Talk Browns football with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8