The former New York Giants wide receiver has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons lately. After suffering a season-ending injury against the Dallas Cowboys in November, Beckham’s season got off to a bad start in 2017 as well.

The latest in sports injuries have been the hype of the summer. It started with the Raiders’ Khalil Mack getting the best of the Chargers’ Joey Bosa, then the Packers’ Jordy Nelson and the Jets’ Josh McCown both suffering significant injuries. Now, it’s Beckham Jr.’s turn to be put on the shelf, as he suffered a potentially season-ending injury on August 30th.

Odell Beckham Jr. is the most famous and most popular athlete in the National Football League, but his ascension to superstar status has been marred by the controversy of his on-field behavior. He is also a very successful and talented athlete, the kind whose accomplishments carry significance beyond his sport. While he’s well-liked by those who know him, his actions on the field don’t always reflect that.

Odell Beckham Jr. is a wide receiver who plays for the New York Giants is a wide receiver who plays for the New York Giants of the Cleveland Browns seems to be a guy eager to disprove his detractors.

Despite the Browns’ participation in the AFC Divisional Round last season, Baker Mayfield and the offense improved following Beckham’s season-ending knee injury in October. Surprisingly, as he nears a return to the field, the former Pro Bowl pick isn’t talking big.

Odell Beckham Jr. had a mature response when asked about his knee injury rehabilitation.

Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in 2020.

Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in 2020. When addressing his rehabilitation from a knee injury, Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. displayed remarkable maturity | Will Newton/Getty Images

For the first time in his life, Beckham is willing to let reality, rather than his aspirations and fantasies, determine the situation.

In a recent interview with Cleveland.com, the three-time Pro Bowl pick addressed his comeback. Beckham, who has had ankle reconstruction and core muscle surgery in the past, detailed how his recovery strategy has changed dramatically this time.

“I wanted to make the quickest recovery ever and all these things, but then I thought to myself, what kind of honor is that? I want to be able to have the most successful season possible. That’s why I say we’re simply running our race, and I’ll be ready whenever the time comes.”

Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham revealed he has not been cleared for the Browns’ Week 1 opener against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, despite the fact that he expects to be ready. 

Beckham has adopted a much more modest approach to his rehabilitation.

Given Beckham’s propensity for arrogant comments and flamboyant touchdown celebrations, it’s remarkable to hear — well, read — him sound so collected and quiet about his comeback.

But we’re all supposed to grow up at some point. Beckham turns 29 in November and hasn’t made a Pro Bowl since 2016. Although he hauled in 74 catches for 1,035 yards in 2019, both represented his lowest total in a season where he played in double-digit games.

Beckham has obviously changed from a ball-hungry diva to a seasoned player saying all the right things as he enters his ninth NFL season, thanks to injuries and mental toll. When speaking with Cleveland.com, Beckham explained his much more modest and realistic approach to rehabilitation.

“What I used to get caught up in — which led me down a road I’ll never go down again — is that you get wounded, and we’re all guys, and we want to prove to everyone that we’re men, so we want to come back. It everything becomes an ego struggle. I’m not in it for all of that anymore because I don’t feel like I have anything to prove to anybody but myself and my desire to be the greatest.”

Odell Beckham Jr.

This autumn, the Browns would want to see Beckham at his best. Last season, he showed glimpses of his explosiveness, scoring three touchdowns from scrimmage in a 49-38 win against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4.

Beckham is in the midst of a make-or-break year for the rest of his career.

Nobody knows what to anticipate from Beckham at this point in his career. Since 2017, he’s undergone three operations, and it’s been many seasons since he dominated defenses like he did with the New York Giants.

The argument that opponents pay much more attention to Beckham doesn’t hold water, particularly when one considers how often he was double-teamed as a young Giant. He has three seasons left on his current deal, including the 2021 season, and he has to show he’s still the kind of player who is worth more than $13 million per year.

To his credit, Beckham has said all of the right things throughout the summer. Mayfield’s performance improved dramatically without Beckham on the field demanding the ball. Clearly, the Browns still want this relationship to succeed, and everyone involved seems ready to give it another season.

If Beckham and Mayfield gel this season, any long-held concerns about the receiver’s future in Cleveland and as a starting wideout will be dispelled. But even if things don’t work out, the three-time Pro Bowler is sounding like a guy who is ready for whatever comes next.

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RELATED: Odell Beckham Jr. Destroys Troll Attempting to Derail His Comeback: ‘All That Weak Ass Hating Sh*t Don’t Work Anymore’

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