BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Odell Beckham Jr. remains lined up outside — way outside.
The polarizing wide receiver was excused from practice for the second straight day on Thursday as the Cleveland Browns figure out their next move with him, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The team hasn’t reached a conclusion yet on what to do with Beckham, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
And while Cleveland’s front office works on a solution, some Browns players expressed a willingness to bring Beckham back.
“Hopefully we can get him back if that’s possible, that’s just my opinion on it,” said safety John Johnson III. “I feel like the majority of this locker room would love to have him in this building. Flat out.”
Browns left guard Joel Bitonio, one of the team’s most respected players and leaders, said there is confusion on the situation.
“Yeah, it’s hard because we don’t know what the situation is,” he said. “We think he’s a great player when he’s on the field, but we don’t know what the situation is. We don’t know what’s really going on.
“We probably know as much as you guys know from outside the building. But if he wants to come back and be part of the team, I’m sure we’d welcome him with open arms.”
Cleveland could waive Beckham if it doesn’t see a reconciliation or bring him back, which seems like a long shot at this point.
Beckham turns 29 on Friday. The three-time Pro Bowler is making $15.75 million this season, and the Browns would have to pay him at least half of that if he was waived and not claimed by another team.
Beckham is under contract for two more seasons, but doesn’t have any guaranteed money.
Amid a major distraction, the Browns (4-4), who have fallen into last place in the AFC North, visit the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) on Sunday.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski doesn’t speak to reporters on Thursday, when Beckham sometimes talks. While he isn’t around, his close friend and fellow wide receiver Jarvis Landry typically talks to reporters on Thursday.
Beckham’s drama-filled tenure in Cleveland has probably come to an end after a disruptive few days.
On Tuesday, Beckham’s father shared a social media post highlighting plays in which his son was open and quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t throw him the ball.
The Browns told Beckham not to report to practice and afterward Mayfield said he has not heard from his teammate. Mayfield said he was caught off guard by the video, which was released hours before the NFL trade deadline.
“I’ve had conversations with his dad before, man to man, face to face,” Mayfield said. “I was pretty surprised by the video and the intentions and the feelings behind it. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. But hurt? Nah, I’m good. I’ll be all right.”
Stefanski also said he had not heard from Beckham, who hasn’t produced as expected since coming to the Browns in a 2019 trade from the New York Giants.
Beckham has had only two 100-yard games in 2 1/2 seasons with Cleveland. When he was hurt and sidelined last year with a knee injury, Mayfield played his best, the Browns ended their playoff drought and won in the playoffs for the first time since 1994.
On Sunday, Mayfield threw just two passes toward Beckham and that seemed to be a tipping point for the 28-year-old.