NFL

Odell Beckham Jr. says he played back half of 2021 season ‘without an ACL’

Free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is recovering from a torn ACL that he ostensibly suffered in Super Bowl LVI in February as a member of the Rams. But on Saturday night, OBJ himself took to Twitter to say that he actually played the entire second half of the 2021 season “without an ACL.”

Beckham initially tore the ACL back in Week 7 of the 2020 campaign when he was with the Browns. After sitting out the first two games of the 2021 season, he got back on the field for Cleveland in Week 3. He was ultimately waived in November after a turbulent and generally disappointing stay in northeast Ohio, and he signed with Los Angeles a few days after he cleared waivers. So if his claim is accurate, he either reinjured the ACL towards the tail end of his Browns tenure, or towards the beginning of his stint with the Rams.

If it was the former, it would be fair to wonder how OBJ passed his exit physical with Cleveland or his entry physical with Los Angeles. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes that such physicals rarely include an MRI unless there is a reason for it, and since there were no alarming issues with the knee from Week 3 of the 2021 campaign forward, an MRI may not have been seen as necessary.

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One way or another, the ACL gave out in the midst of what was shaping up as a brilliant title game performance. Since then, although there have been plenty of reports about Beckham’s recovery and who his next employer might be, the three-time Pro Bowler remains unsigned.

It seems unlikely that Beckham’s tweet will have much impact on how other teams view him. Regardless of exactly when he reaggravated the ACL injury, the fact remains that he undergone two major surgeries on his left knee in a span of roughly 15 months, to say nothing of the painful shoulder sprain that he sustained with Cleveland last year or the sports hernia ailment he dealt with in 2019. Plus, despite his undeniable talent, two franchises have now seen fit to cut ties despite having multiple years of club control over him.

The Rams remain open to a new deal, even though Beckham may be unable to suit up until late November. It is also unclear whether Beckham is targeting a one-year accord, or if he is seeking a multi-year deal from a club that may be willing to wait for him until the latter stages of the 2022 season if it can be assured of having him on the roster in 2023.

The Packers and Patriots have been connected to some degree to OBJ this offseason, but given his current timeline, there is no real urgency for him or for interested teams. Indeed, he may elect to wait until he is closer to full strength to put pen to paper, at which point clubs that may not have a place for him now could find themselves looking for a receiver to provide a late-season boost.

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