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Odell Beckham Jr. named captain for first game vs. Rams since winning Super Bowl

The three-time Pro Bowl wideout hopes to lead the Ravens to victory over his former team that he won a title with.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Baltimore Ravens faced off with the Los Angeles Rams was Week 17 of the 2021 regular season at M&T Bank Stadium and veteran Odell Beckham Jr. helped lead the eventual Super Bowl 56 champions to a late come-from-behind victory over the home team whom he now plays for. He caught a seven-yard go-ahead touchdown from veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford with 57 seconds left on the clock to hand the Ravens their fifth straight loss.

When the two teams square off this Sunday in a Week 14 interconference matchup, he’d like to flip the script but still play the same role by helping lead the Ravens to triumph in Charm City.

“Hopefully I can return the favor to them,” Beckham Jr. said with a grin. “The bye week, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Now you’re going into a real season, five games that are setting you up to be in the real-real-season.”

On Monday, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh announced that he was named one of their team captains for his first game against the Rams since helping them win a championship two nearly two years ago in February of 2022.

“He’ll go out there and do the coin toss and he’ll be out there playing,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a heck of a football player. He draws a lot of attention. He’s making plays, and he’s really coming into his own health-wise right now and getting strong and faster. It’s a big road back from where he had to come from. You see it every single week. You guys watch the game, there’s an explosive element to what he’s doing. He can really go. I know he’s going to make a bunch of big plays down in the stretch here.”

Unlike most players who go up against one of their former teams, Beckham holds no animosity, hard feelings, or ill will toward the Rams. At his Monday presser, he fondly reminisced about his time with the organization as well as how much Los Angeles Head Coach Sean McVay specifically means to him and the pivotal role he played in helping him rediscover his love for the game.

“He kind of was the person through the whole situation . . . brought me back to loving football and understanding true professionalism and being prepared,” Beckham Jr. said. “It was one of the best things that’s happened in my life.

“There’s been other situations where I didn’t feel prepared the way that I felt prepared over there from the way that they come in for meetings, in the way that they look at the film and dissect each player [and] team... I have nothing but the utmost love and respect for him and that place over there and those people.”

Beckham Jr. joined the Rams about midway through the 2021 season after he was released by the Cleveland Browns following the midseason trade deadline. It took him a little while to get acclimated on the fly and start consistently producing but he still managed to haul in five touchdowns in the final eight regular season games. Once the playoffs came around, he was one of Los Angeles’ main catalysts for their success on offense, catching 21 of 26 targets for 288 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was well on his way to earning Super Bowl MVP honors before suffering a torn ACL that caused him to miss the entire 2022 season.

“It’s just a team that I have a lot of love and respect for,” Beckham Jr. said. “Obviously, I won a Super Bowl with them, so it does feel good to go against them [and] to be able to see these guys. I have a special bond with them. The goal is obviously to win now on this side.”

Beckham Jr. has come strong over the last month, hauling 13 of his 21 targets for 246 receiving yards and two touchdowns in November alone in a four-game span. According to Pro Football Focus, his 2.83 yards per route run since Week 8 is the seventh-best mark among all offensive players in the NFL.

With three-time Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews out indefinitely, Beckham Jr. and the rest of the Ravens’ revamped wide receiver depth chart are projected to have even larger roles down the stretch to help offset his absence from the lineup. The 31-year-old is the only one of the bunch with extensive and recent experience making a deep postseason run. He will be leaned on from both a leadership and production standpoint when the team needs a clutch catch for a score, a key conversion, or even just uplifting words of encouragement or praise for the young wideouts whether they just made a big play or big mistake.