Cleveland Browns general manager and executive vice president of football operations Andrew Berry spoke with reporters Tuesday about wide receiver Odell Beckham's recent comments made to Lane Florsheim of the Wall Street Journal, in which the talented wideout said that he didn't believe there should be a season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Berry said the following in response to a question from ESPN's Jake Trotter (h/t Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com for transcription):
"Having a player of Odell's stature on the roster, obviously, he generates a lot of attention. Odell is very mindful that he has to be conscientious with his words. That being said, we've had plenty of dialogue and conversation with Odell, not only just through the summer but certainly as he's returned to Cleveland, and that's been a positive thing.
"We feel really good about everything that the league and the [NFL]PA have agreed upon and everything that we've done in Cleveland. I'd say in terms of Odell, he's returned and really been focused on working hard. He's been very engaged in everything that we've done in the classroom. He's really focused on having a great year."
Beckham's remarks were published Monday but were made two weeks ago, according to Cabot:
"Obviously with everything that's going on, it doesn't make sense why we're trying to do this. I can understand basketball was already in the playoffs. Five-on-five basketball in an arena is going to be more intense than regular-season games. Hooping is different than playing an eleven-on-eleven contact sport where there's 80 people in a locker room.
"We're not ready for football season. So why are we trying to push forward? It's obviously for their money. And that bothers me because there's always been this—and I hate saying it like that—but the owners' [attitude is], 'Oh we own you guys,' and just kind of that unfairness going on that they don't see us as human. I just feel like the season shouldn't happen and I'm prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn't mind not having it."
All NFL players have the option to voluntarily opt out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns, and the interview led to speculation that Beckham may decide to sit out. However, Beckham has no plans of doing so, per Cabot.
Of note, the preseason slate has been canceled, padded practices won't take place until Aug. 17, and players can opt out and receive a $150,000 salary advance. Players will also receive daily COVID-19 testing for the first two weeks of training camp.
Per Cabot, Beckham has "changed his tune" about the NFL season being held since the protocols were enacted. He also reportedly was impressed with "how airtight the Browns facility was," per Cabot.
Berry spoke about feedback he has received regarding the Browns' facility safety protocols:
"The feedback has been largely positive. It's tough until you get in some of these NFL buildings and until you see how stringent and how strict and detailed the protocols are, not just within the facilities but for things that will come down the line, whether it is travel, hotels or busing, you name it. That is kind of hard to visualize in call it April, May or early June.
"There's been a ton of thought, a ton of detail, a ton of work put into it so we are all very grateful for a number of individuals who have done that."
Berry is in his first season running the Browns, who are looking to bounce back from a 6-10 season.
First-year head coach Kevin Stefanski will lead Beckham and the Browns into the 2020 campaign, starting with a road matchup at the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 13.