Odell Beckham Jr.: trying to win championship in Cleveland "legendary"

New Browns WR talks to GQ magazine about trade, desire to surpass Jerry Rice and more

Daryl Ruiter
July 22, 2019 - 12:00 pm

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Odell Beckham Jr. wants to be legendary.

In an expansive interview with GQ Magazine titled ‘Unguarded,’ which features Beckham on its August cover, the Browns receiver opened up on a variety of topics while also reiterating his happiness to play football in Cleveland following the March trade from the New York Giants.

“I'm so excited about the opportunity that I have to be in Cleveland,” Beckham told GQ. “I think it goes for everything I stand for when I talk about legendary. The Catch was cool. It was legendary, in a sense. But legendary is going to Cleveland and trying to win a championship.”

Beckham also defended comments he made to the magazine earlier this year.

“I have to go back to this comment because I said something recently about being the Patriots: Who does not get into this game to be 11-and-5 or 12-and-4 every season, to win their conference, to win the championship, to go to the Super Bowl? What else would you do this for?” Beckham said. “Every year at the Giants, when they'd ask me, ‘What are your goals this year?’ I would say to win a Super Bowl. There's no sugarcoating it. Even if you feel like your team can't do it, the goal is to win the Super Bowl. I don't understand what else I'm playing for. Playing to have a good season? No, bro. I'm trying to win the Super Bowl.”

Beckham admitted that things were so bad for him in New York he considered stepping away from football, but even after the trade he still harbored negative feelings towards the front office of his former team.

 “My initial reaction was not disappointment.… I felt disrespected. Like, after everything I've done for them,” Beckham said. “This is me being honest: This team has not been good for the last six years. Period. Even the year we went to the playoffs and everyone was talking about this and that. And we went there, and I didn't have a great playoff game. Don't get me wrong, I had a terrible game. But I left the game with seven targets, and I'm supposed to be your number one receiver. I left the game with seven targets. We lost. They scored 40 points. It's just all bad. I felt disrespected, because I felt like I was a main reason at keeping that brand alive. They were getting prime-time games, still, as a 5-and-11 team. Why? Because people want to see the show. You want to see me play. That's just real rap. I'm not sitting here like, ‘It's because of me.’ But let's just be real. That's why we're still getting prime-time games. I felt disrespected they weren't even man enough to even sit me down to my face and tell me what's going on.”

Beckham, who has over 13.4 million Instagram and just under 4 million Twitter followers, is one of the NFL’s most popular players.

He’s also one of the most scrutinized.

“I always say this: I wouldn't change anything for the world for where I'm at now. I also always say this: Be careful what you ask for and be careful what you speak,” Beckham said.

“I didn't know that getting to that level—or being on the level, like, where a LeBron is at—that I would have to deal with certain things. Like, I really didn't know that when I was younger. People ask me what advice I would give, and I'm just like: Be careful what you ask for. Like I said, I wouldn't change anything for the world, but I wish the world would have more love than hate in it.”

The three-time Pro Bowler who has already amassed 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns in five seasons, has set his sights much higher.

He wants to play “until I can pass Jerry. That's the goal: 23,000 yards.”

Beckham’s greatness on the field has been overshadowed by his passion for the game and accusations that he is not a good teammate off of it which saw him once again play defense in the interview.

“You can literally ask any one of my teammates. My on-the-field football never gets talked about unless people are talking about antics. They don't talk about numbers,” Beckham said. “Where's the reel at? People only want to focus on one thing. I feel like I'm one of the only people in the NFL where my personal life and my brand are the only things that get talked about. They'll do a whole segment about the car that I have on ESPN. Why? I've never been arrested. Never have and never will be putting my hands on a woman. I've never done any crimes. I've never done anything but some little petty, dumb stuff that we keep harping on.”

Beckham’s absence from OTAs this spring following the trade to the Browns generated more criticism, but he explained in detail why it in his view is so unfunded and underserved.

“They asked, how could I have changed if I didn't go to OTAs? I have to be the very best me to help my team. We don't get paid to be at OTAs,” Beckham said. “If you want players to be there, make it mandatory and pay them. I got traded to a new team, I already paid to live here in L.A. for the entire summer. Are the Giants or Cleveland going to reimburse me for what I've already paid? Are they going to reimburse my trainers, who I've already paid? Are they going to reimburse me for the dogs who I've had to put in kennels? There's a lot of expenses. Are they going to pay for the rehab I was doing? No. They don't do all of that. That stuff is all on our own. So when it gets time for us to have our own life outside of football, they say something. When the game is done with you, they chew you up, spit you out. You're done. You're done. I have to take care of myself and my family. Period.

“I talk to everybody in the locker room. When someone gives me free stuff, I ask them to send a hundred of them for my teammates. A hundred Sprayground bags… They put them in the locker room. I asked for them to send me Casper mattresses. They sent me 100 Casper mattresses for the staff and the team.”

Beckham isn’t worried about his ‘brand’ taking a hit with the move from the Big Apple to the shores of Lake Erie.

“I forever will have love for the New York fans,” Beckham said. “They gave me my first home. But there's this sense of entitlement—like I was made there. And in my head, that was the first place I had the opportunity to show the world what God had set out for me to do. It didn't matter where I was at. Now, did it help that it was Sunday Night Football for the New York Giants versus the Dallas Cowboys? One thousand percent. But The Catch happened around the entire world. I feel like it wouldn't matter where I was at—once you got hooked onto who I was and what I was doing. And who knows? If I was in another place, you don't know if the numbers would've been more or less.”