PHOENIX – Odell Beckham Jr.’s new team is welcoming him with open arms. Literally.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said Tuesday at the NFL’s league meetings that his first words to the wide receiver, who was acquired in a trade with the Giants, simply will be “I love you,” punctuated by a hug.
“I love great players and I love great people,’’ Kitchens told reporters. “He's a great person above all else. Perception is not always reality. I'm anxious to get Odell there and get to know him as a person. His teammates love him. So I just want him to kind of assimilate into the team and get going.”
The Giants may have spent a good portion of this past week deflecting the narrative that they traded Beckham because they had grown tired of his antics (something co-owner John Mara did admit was a “factor” in the decision). If Beckham felt underappreciated by the Giants, the Browns certainly are trying to rectify that.
Kitchens said he understands that Beckham brings a lot to a team, and not just in terms of offensive production. There already have been numerous stories stemming from Beckham’s social media posts since the trade, including a brief hiatus from public interaction which the wide receiver said would be used to “process” his move.
“He's no different than anyone else,” Kitchens said. “He's a human being. He has feelings. He's not just some cartoon character who kind of pops up in the media. Two weeks ago his life was turned upside down. He didn't know he was getting traded. He had to take some to see what life was going to be like now, post-New York. What he's going to realize is we have some good coaches, good players, good people within our organization.’’
So the Browns love Beckham. Will Beckham love Cleveland?
“Him and Cleveland, they both have tremendous passion,” Kitchens said. “He's going to see the passion. Passionate people like other passionate people. He's going to see the passion and he's going to love it.”