EASTLAKE, Ohio — Odell Beckham Jr.’s knee looks fine for football. His softball swing still needs work.
The Browns wide receiver, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last season, took part Saturday in teammate Jarvis Landry‘s charity softball event, which drew 7,000 fans and included Cleveland stars Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield as well as Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.
Beckham struggled in the home run hitting contest, popping up several pitches and completely missing a few, but Landry reported that his speedy teammate looked fully recovered when they worked out together this past week in Austin, Texas.
“Man, he looked amazing,” Landry told reporters. “I can’t wait for you guys to see him. I can’t wait for him to get back out there. He’s in fantastic shape and he’s ready to go. He’s only what, 6½ months [beyond surgery], and he’s already doing some things that will blow your mind away.”
OBJ with a couple swing and misses here pic.twitter.com/nqFcwIyBUg
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) June 12, 2021
The Browns are counting on Beckham as they look to build off a playoff appearance and postseason win last season. Beckham missed out on the fun after suffering a torn right anterior cruciate ligament in the opening minutes of Cleveland’s Oct. 25 game in Cincinnati.
Beckham underwent surgery a few weeks later and was unable to contribute as the Browns ended their long playoff drought, then beat rival Pittsburgh in the wild-card game.
He has been periodically posting social media videos of his rehab progress, and Landry isn’t surprised his good friend appears to be ahead of schedule.
“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.”
During the workouts in Texas, which were hosted by Mayfield, Beckham showed Landry he’s where he needs to be.
“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.'”
Beckham is expected to be at mandatory minicamp this week with the Browns.
Kelce, a proud Clevelander, showed love to his hometown by wearing an Indians jersey and cap. He wasn’t taking any chances.
“I’m at home, but it’s still enemy territory,” Kelce said. “It’s so weird. It’s a weird feeling.”
He has watched the Browns upgrade their roster over the past few months. And while he’s not ready to call them a rival, he’s seen enough to consider them a threat.
“I would say they’re definitely a contender, without a doubt,” he said. “It’s definitely there. Baker and the gang have upped the ante, made this team an unbelievable team and a team you have to prepare for and take serious. I think that moving forward without a doubt I can see a lot more playoff games between us.
“I think the Browns and Chiefs are definitely neck and neck for sure.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.