BEREA, Ohio — Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Wednesday that wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will not play this week when the team returns home to face the Texans at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“I’m going to hold Odell out this week,” Stefanski said prior to practice. “Just felt like that was the right thing to do. Last week, I thought we had a good plan, he was close, working very hard on the side, but just felt like it made more sense to have clarity early in the week from a game-planning, practice standpoint.”
Beckham will still practice during the week and was on the field going through individual drills during the portion of practice open to the media on Wednesday.
Stefanski said there hasn’t been a setback with Beckham.
“He’s working really hard. I think you see him working hard,” Stefanski said. “I’m not going to put a timetable on it, but I think the guy’s working to get there.”
Beckham was a gametime decision on Sunday against the Chiefs and was ultimately inactive after being listed as questionable on the final injury report leading into the game.
“He worked out before the game and didn’t feel like he could go a significant amount,” Stefanski said following Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, “so we felt it was the right thing to do to keep him inactive and we have four wide receivers up.”
Stefanski on Wednesday said the leadup to the Chiefs game was something that happens in the NFL, practicing guys who may not be able to go, and called it a “classic ‘It is what it is’” moment.
“He was pushing to get there, didn’t feel like he could play a significant number of snaps,” Stefanski said. “I just felt like, for this week, the prudent thing to do was let’s let those other guys get all those reps, although they got a bunch last week, let’s gameplan accordingly and then we’ll update you guys as we get into next week.”
Stefanski said he was comfortable with the plan last week, as were the players, but this week he’s taking a different approach.
“I just feel like this week, I’d like to do it this way and make the decision today,” he said.
Stefanski, who is normally not very revealing when it comes to injuries, said this is simply how he wanted to handle the situation this week.
“I talked to Odell about it,” he said. “This is my decision and felt it was the right thing to do for this week.”
Donovan Peoples-Jones started in Beckham’s place in Kansas City, playing 47 offensive snaps and had one catch for four yards. Rookie Anthony Schwartz also received a significant amount of playing time, seeing the field for 31 snaps and catching three of five targets for 69 yards.
“I thought Anthony had his opportunities in this last game and did a nice job for his first game,” Stefanski said. “That’s not an easy place to go have your first NFL game. He was dependable when we called on him.”
Beckham is working his way back from a torn ACL suffered during an Oct. 25, 2020 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Beckham was held out of team drills during most of training camp and what limited 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work he did do wasn’t at full speed. Stefanski said last week that Beckham hadn’t had any contact in camp or in practices leading up to Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I would not call it a conservative approach,” Stefanski said on a Zoom call with reporters on Monday. “We are just trying to be appropriate with all of this. Ultimately, he is coming off of a major surgery, and we are going to work through it day by day. When he is ready to play, he will play.”
In 23 games with the Browns since a 2019 offseason trade brought him to Cleveland, Beckham has 97 catches for 1,354 yards and seven touchdowns. He had 23 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns in seven games before tearing his ACL in 2020.
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