With a showdown with the New England Patriots looming, Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. can't help but think about having been linked to the reigning Super Bowl champs in past trade rumors.
Beckham revealed Wednesday that playing for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and with quarterback Tom Brady was a "dream of mine," per Craig Kolodny of NBC10 Boston (h/t Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal):
"Of course. Two, three years ago, there was speculation ... and I was willing and ready to go over there at any point in time. That was always a dream of mine to play for Tom Brady, Tom Brady and Belichick. Tom and I talked for two or three years like, 'If it happens, it happens and it would be cool.'"
New England has been the NFL's gold standard for the past two decades, having made the postseason all but two times since Brady took over under center in 2001. The Patriots have reached nine Super Bowls over the last 18 years and have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy six times during that span.
Beckham has yet to team up with Brady to this point in his career, but he can't help but admire the four-time MVP from afar, per Ridenour:
"Ever since I could remember, I've been watching Tom Brady. Someone I look up to who has inspired me throughout my life.
"I have tried to pick his brain a little bit, and he just always talks about his preparation and how he approaches each and every game. You go out there and you see it, the s--t's perfect. If he makes a mistake, he's coming right back."
Upon arriving in Cleveland, Beckham's affection for New England was apparent when he told GQ's Cam Wolf that he wanted to turn the Browns "into the new Patriots." He later clarified his comments to say he wanted "to help the Browns become great."
On Wednesday, Beckham cited the "Patriot Way" while talking about his team's development, per Ridenour:
"It's about winning, but it's about the way they go about it, how everything is precise and everything is just perfect. But now I'm with somebody who I think is going to be a guy who plays for however long he's going to play for. Right now, it's about us establishing a connection and being a better team, just coming together."
On Sunday, Beckham will have a chance to make the Patriots pay for not trading for him. A big performance out of Beckham could also end the 7-0 Patriots' perfect season.