OBJ has Mayfield’s back, believes Browns close to breakout

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Odell Beckham Jr. believes the Browns’ offense will come around. Until then, he’s defending Baker Mayfield.

On the heels of Cleveland’s quarterback storming away from an interview session and expressing his frustration at losing with a Twitter posting, Beckham said he understands what Mayfield is going through better than anyone.

The star receiver, who has sometimes felt unfairly attacked for his words and actions, acknowledged he hasn’t always been in the right spot for Mayfield this season.

But he’s not going to leave his side.

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“I’ve been through this fire, so that’s a part of me that is also able to help him in a way,” Beckham said. “This is a kid who cares about football, he cares about winning. Whatever people make him out to be, just because of his personality, you know, it’s like can’t really say anything. If he was winning and he was still doing it, we would all be here laughing and loving him.

“But because we’re losing we want to kinda poke at him a little bit. And I’m going to be the first one here to defend him every single time. I always got his back. I know what it’s like, I’ve been there.”

The Browns (2-5) aren’t winning and there’s mounting pressure around first-year coach Freddie Kitchens and a team not playing up to its talent level or potential.

Beckham has caught just one touchdown pass in seven games but remains confident the offense will begin clicking. He also has no doubt that Mayfield, who is tied for the league lead with 12 interceptions, is destined for greatness.

Beckham knows what it’s like to be at the center of the storm.

“I’ve been in situations where one person’s getting the blame and the rest of the people are quiet just to kind of stay out of the fire,” Beckham said, “I’m going to jump in the fire with him. I’ll be the first one. Some of these losses are on me. I need to be in the right place at the right time. I need to be better. And that’s what I plan to do for the rest of the season.

“I said before the Seahawks game I felt like I was back to me. I felt like I was back to playing and having that love and I just never want to go into a negative space again, so I’m bringing it to the field every single time I get out there. And I know that we’ll see things turn around here shortly.”

On Wednesday, Mayfield abruptly ended his media session when he took issue with a line of questioning. He later went on social media to explain that he’s upset with Cleveland’s record and said his sense of urgency is at “an all-time high.”

As one of the NFL’s most high-profile players, Beckham appreciates the scrutiny Mayfield faces. He feels some of Mayfield’s actions may have been misinterpreted.

“This is a world filled of negativity,” Beckham said. “We know negativity sells. We know that all of that stuff is better than being positive and upbeat so that’s what we dig, we thrive, we’re looking for the one little thing. That’s where now I try and watch my words because it’s like one line gets taken and it’s like, ‘all right, bro that’s not what I said.’ So I understand life. I understand how it goes. I understand that we’re looking for the negative, but at the end of the day we’re human.

“He wants to win. He’s upset he’s not winning or he hasn’t done to the best of his ability. That’s upsetting. It’s just upsetting. We want to be great.”

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