Odell Beckham Jr. reached a breaking point with football in 2017.
The Cleveland Browns wide receiver, then with the New York Giants, was out for the season after breaking his ankle in a Week 4 game against the Los Angeles Chargers and admitted that he contemplated walking away from the game around that time.
“I said this in college, I said, ‘I fear the day that they make this game a business and not what I love,’” he said in a round-table discussion with Victor Cruz, Cam Newton and Todd Gurley posted on Beckham’s YouTube channel.
“And when I seen that for the first time, after breaking my ankle, like, I thought about not playing anymore,” he added. “Like, this is not really it for me. They’ve ruined the game of football for me a little bit.”
Beckham stayed the course, though, and returned to play in 2018 while receiving a huge contract before the season, signing a five-year, $90 million extension with $41 million guaranteed.
But it was not the money that fueled Beckham to return, but rather his fans.
“When I be on the sideline and that little kid is like, ‘Do the whip! Dance!’ That s—t is what fueled me,” Beckham said. “That’s what makes me now – hopefully, they give me some more time. Because I’m coming back from serious injuries. I’m coming back fully healthy.”
Beckham also made an interesting comment, while talking to Newton about overcoming injuries, he said he should not have even been playing to start the season because he rushed back from an ankle injury he sustained in the preseason in August.
“You’ve given everything – shoulder, foot. I came back early and broke my s—t. I shouldn’t have been playing,” he said.
The Giants traded Beckham to the Browns in March of 2019, but the wide receiver admitted he was struggling to stay happy in New York and his dealings with the media were a factor.
“When [the media] took my authenticity, and f---ed me over with it, I couldn’t deal with that,” he said. “I could sit up here and be like, ‘oh, I’m just here to play football.’ … But I’m giving you real insight and when I see the articles you’re s----ing on me. It make me not want to be that.
“I ran into bigger problems with the f---ing world than myself. And then I struggled to deal with that. Depression, mental health issues, being in New York, not really liking it because … to lose a game [in college] – I cried that night. To lose one game our season’s done. So when I got to the league, that was a major adjustment for me. Six-and-10, 6-10. I couldn’t deal with that. You see the outlash on the field, I’m competitive.”
While Beckham has had difficulty returning to his form pre-injury, he is optimistic for the upcoming season with the Browns – even bringing back the dyed blonde hair.
“I understand the game now,” Beckham said. “That’s why you see the [haircut] is back. There’s nothing you could tell me.”