When the Baltimore Ravens and three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth up to $18 million on Easter Sunday in early April, neither party would’ve thought he’d have just seven receptions on 11 targets for 79 receiving yards and no touchdowns in early October.
However, that is the reality for the 30-year-old veteran wideout who believed his injury woes were behind him after sitting out the entire 2022 season while he recovered from a torn ACL he suffered helping the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl last February.
A minor ankle injury he suffered in the first half of the Ravens’ Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals caused him to miss the next two games and briefly leave the team’s Week 5 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers but he would eventually return to action and finish the game.
Beckham Jr. is no stranger to dealing with injuries of the major and minor variety as he has dealt with them and other forms of adversity following a sensational start to his career where he made three straight Pro Bowls and recorded over 1,000 receiving yards in five of his first six seasons.
“There’s no time for excuses or putting blame here or there,” Beckham Jr. said Thursday. “I’m a man. I take my wins and my losses. I’ve just got to come out and be better, plain and simple, and do whatever I can to help this team win.”
The Ravens had him on a cautious and gradual ramp-up period during the offseason program and training camp given that he spent a year away from the game and they wanted to ensure he’d be ready by the start of the season. He hasn’t been pleased with his production and lack of a consistent impact even when he has been on the field and determined to maximize his targets and touches whenever they come his way moving forward.
“I was doing such a great job early on and hadn’t been thrown many tests leading into training camp, and I feel like I semi-failed the test God gave me,” Beckham Jr. said. “Realizing that is a step of growth. To now embrace this new challenge and find a way to be productive with whatever opportunities I do have, that’s just the bottom line. Make the most of what you get.”
Putting it all on the line to help a team with championship aspirations and a legit shot to go all the way is exactly what Beckham Jr. did with the Rams in 2021 when he joined the team midseason despite not being medically cleared by team doctors and played the rest of the regular season and was a catalyst for success for them in the postseason.
Before signing with the @RamsNFL in 2021 Sean McVay & their medical staff informed @obj , “you don’t have an ACL”.— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) August 5, 2023
Beckham Jr. answered without hesitation…
“We’re going til the wheels fall off!” -OBJ
The Rams would go on to win the Super Bowl, & Beckham Jr. played a major… pic.twitter.com/0996tHnF1e
He was well on his way to possibly being named MVP of the title tilt with the Bengals before completely tearing his ACL that was already partially torn but he had opted to play through it for his team.
“There’s something about pressure and the biggest stage that drives me even more,” Beckham Jr. said.
In his eagerness to get back on the field, Beckham Jr. hinted that trying to come back this past Sunday might have been too soon. But he would “absolutely love” to get back on track to being the explosive playmaker he knows he can be when healthy this Sunday when the Ravens take on the Tennessee Titans in London, England in Week 6.
“It’s been tough,” Beckham Jr. said. “I worked my ass off for a long time since that Super Bowl [injury]. Just to have a small, small setback that you never saw coming, it’s just unfortunate. … It never feels good when you’re not at your very, very best. I feel much better this week.”
Beckham Jr. was one of six players listed on Thursday’s official injury report as full participants in practice so he certainly trending in the right direction to be full-go for Sunday.