EASTLAKE, Ohio — Odell Beckham Jr. ran a post route, made one of his signature one-handed catches and Jarvis Landry immediately knew his close friend and fellow Cleveland Browns wide receiver looked like himself again.
“He’s in fantastic shape, and he’s ready to go,” Landry said Saturday before his celebrity softball game at Classic Park. “He’s already doing some things that will blow your mind.”
Landry had his mind blown this past week during on-field workouts with Beckham and other Browns teammates in quarterback Baker Mayfield’s hometown of Austin, Texas.
Beckham’s highlight catch was significant in Landry’s eyes because Beckham suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Oct. 25 against the Cincinnati Bengals and underwent surgery Nov. 10.
“He ran a post route, sticking off the same injured leg and exploding out of it, then going up, jumping off that same leg and making a catch, doing his thing — what he does with one hand,” Landry said.
“You sit back and you’re like, ‘Wait. He’s even better than he was last year.’ So it’s going to be amazing to see as time [goes on] and the further he gets away from surgery how much better he’s going to get.”
The Browns have been optimistic about Beckham’s comeback all offseason, and they’ll get a closer look at him Tuesday through Thursday during mandatory minicamp at club headquarters in Berea, Ohio. The team with fresh Super Bowl aspirations will open the regular season Sept. 12 against the defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, and all signs point to Beckham being part of the action.
“I don’t expect nothing less from Odell,” Landry said. “That’s his character, and that’s who he is. He’s a guy who’s always going to train hard and be prepared.”
Mayfield hosted Landry, Beckham, receiver Rashard Higgins, tight end David Njoku and other players for a passing camp while the Browns conducted their final round of voluntary organized team activity practices.
Nearly the entire starting offense skipped all three weeks of OTAs. It was the result of NFL Players Association president and Browns starting center JC Tretter encouraging players to exercise their rights to not attend the voluntary OTAs a year after missed-time injuries and concussions were reduced on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out the traditional offseason workout program.
“We talked [as a team], and a lot of guys have felt really comfortable being away from the facility and feeling that they could still get their proper amount of work that when they come back to the facility that they’ll be ready,” Landry said. “And we made that decision, and we got together throughout the offseason, and I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Landry and Mayfield were among the Browns players who gathered for training sessions in late April at House of Athlete in Weston, Florida.
This time, Beckham joined the party.
“He looked amazing,” Landry said.
Mayfield hosted teammates in Austin last spring, too, but Beckham and Landry didn’t make the trip because they were rehabilitating elsewhere after undergoing offseason surgeries.
Landry called the most recent work with Mayfield “very efficient.” Landry said the players who attended the sessions still attended the virtual meetings with Browns coached that had begun April 19.
“It was definitely effective and definitely much-needed,” Landry said.