Landry says best friend OBJ not looking to bolt Browns

Sports

Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Clayton Fejedelem (42) tackles Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

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BEREA, Ohio (AP) — If Odell Beckham is making plans to bolt the Browns, the flashy wide receiver hasn’t told his best friend.

Jarvis Landry thinks he would know, and he doesn’t believe Beckham is going anywhere.

Landry said Thursday that Beckham has given him no reason to feel he wants to be traded after just one season with Cleveland, which acquired the three-time Pro Bowler in a blockbuster deal with the New York Giants in March.

“I think he wants to be here. I know he wants to be here,” stressed Landry, who had previously been quiet about Beckham’s future. “It’s not even about trying to go somewhere else.”

Over the past two weeks, several reports have surfaced that Beckham, who has been slowed by a sports hernia injury since training camp, is unhappy in Cleveland and wants to leave the Browns (6-7). Beckham’s frustration has grown during the season because of his lack of production, and one report said he has gone as far as telling opposing players and coaches during games to “come get me.”

Landry doesn’t buy it. He and Beckham grew close while they were teammates at LSU, where they dreamed about possibly playing together in the NFL. And now that their vision is a reality, Landry doesn’t think his good friend would want to abandon an ideal situation so quickly.

“He’s a guy that comes to work every day,” Landry said. “He’s a guy that’s playing through injuries and all the things that you want out of a player. And inside of this organization, he has a voice. He has responsibility to himself, to all of us to go out there and compete each and every Sunday. And he does that.

“He doesn’t want to leave, and he’s not trying to leave.”

Beckham has given vague answers about his plans, which has only increased speculation that he’s plotting an exit strategy. Following Sunday’s win over Cincinnati, Beckham chose not to discuss “any offseason stuff that’s going on.” However, he did say he has grown accustomed to conjecture about his moves off the field.

“I’m used to it,” he said after catching just two passes for 39 yards, his career-high seventh straight game without reaching 100 yards. “I’ve been dealing with it for three or four years. It’s just the same thing that is going on. Not anything that I can’t handle.”

But Landry, the Browns’ nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, believes Beckham is bothered by the endless chatter about his disposition or possible destination.

“I’m sure he sees it and it does take a toll in a sense to know that he’s putting his heart and soul into this season for this team and everybody else is trying to make a story off of things that is not really going on,” Landry said.

Landry was asked that if the stories are untrue, why do they persist.

“I don’t know. That’s a question for you guys,” he told reporters. “I don’t write. I haven’t heard him say anything directly. So I don’t know how it could come out to be all that it is now.”

In the past few days, Browns coach Freddie Kitchens, quarterback Baker Mayfield and now Landry have said they’ve not heard one negative word from Beckham.

He made a brief appearance in the locker room while it was open to media, but he was not available for an interview. The 27-year-old, who has 59 catches for 844 yards and a career-low two touchdowns this season, briefly chatted with some defensive teammates, showing them one of his new customized Nike cleats.

Beckham came to Cleveland with goals of doing bigger things, but a high-powered offense has rarely revved on all cylinders or been the scoring machine it was predicted to be.

Landry can appreciate Beckham’s frustration, but the Browns can only blame themselves for not living up to mammoth preseason expectations.

Cleveland’s postseason chances are slim heading into Sunday’s game at Arizona.

“This is a team sport and it’s not about one person, whether it’s one person coming in or one person leaving,” said Landry, who is just 5 yards short of 1,000. “When I came in here, I spoke about the same things. I had the same dreams, aspirations and a lot of things happened in the season, and a lot of times when you’re turning the ball over, have penalties, it’s not usually a successful season.

“We made our bed to this point and we know we have to win out. We know the situation. We’ve still got an opportunity this week to put us in position that if the cards fall the right way, we can still have our shot at the playoffs.”

Not everything about Beckham’s situation is clear. With OBJ, nothing is ever too certain.

However, Landry feels strongly that he would be the first one Beckham would confide in.

“Of course,“ Landry said with a laugh. “If he don’t, I’m gonna beat his ass.”

NOTES: C JC Tretter did not practice for the second straight day because of a knee injury. His status for the Cardinals remains uncertain. … Beckham (groin), Landry (hip) RT Chris Hubbard (knee) and DE Olivier Vernon (knee) were all limited. Kendall Lamm will make his second start in a row if Hubbard can’t play.

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