Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. Says He Considered Retiring After Ankle Injury in 2017

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2020

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Odell Beckham Jr. said he almost retired from the NFL after suffering a broken ankle in 2017 with the New York Giants.

During a roundtable with Cam Newton, Todd Gurley and Victor Cruz, the star receiver said he was no longer enjoying the game after the injury (28:40 in video).

"I said this in college, I said, 'I fear the day that they make this game a business and not what I love,'" Beckham said (h/t TMZ Sports). "And when I seen that for the first time after breaking my ankle, like I thought about not playing no more, like this is not really it for me because they've ruined the game of football for me a little bit."

It was the support from fans that apparently brought him back.

"When I be on the sideline and that little kid is, 'Do the whip, dance,' like that s--t is what fueled me," Beckham said. "That's what fueled me."

Beckham also said it was challenging when his critics began to emerge.

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"I struggled to deal with that," he said. "Depression, mental health issues, being in New York, not really liking it."

Beckham burst onto the scene with three straight Pro Bowl selections after being taken in the first round of the 2014 draft. He had 35 touchdowns in 43 games during that stretch, averaging 95.9 yards per game.

The ankle injury in Year 4 held him to just four contests that season, and he hasn't been the same since. The wideout has recorded 13 touchdowns in 32 games over his last three years, averaging 74.7 yards per game.

There were high expectations when he joined the Cleveland Browns via trade last year, but he finished with 74 catches for 1,035 yards and four scores, all career lows except for his injury-shortened 2017. The Browns also struggled to a 6-10 record after being pegged by some as a Super Bowl contender.

Beckham underwent surgery in January to repair hip and groin injuries and appears to be confident he will bounce back in 2020.