The Baltimore Ravens began this minicamp practice this week, marking the first time that franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson and newly-signed wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. got to share the field together.
When asked by reporters how he thought Odell — who hasn’t played since tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl prior to the last one in February 2022 — looked on the field, Jackson said that he looked “pretty smooth” and “pretty good.”
“I think he looked pretty smooth. Crisp routes, great hands. As everybody knows, he can catch the ball. He looked pretty good out there,” Jackson said in a press conference.
Lamar Jackson said Odell Beckham Jr. looked smooth in their first practice together pic.twitter.com/bH9C1y2lIq
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) June 14, 2023
Not one “pretty” qualifier, but two! Putting on my armchair therapist hat for a second, something about Jackson’s comments on Odell seem less than thrilled. Just picture Larry David whenever he precedes something with “pretty”. Never really a good thing, is it?
You would think, given how long Jackson has needed a true #1 wide receiver, that he’d be full of effusive praise for OBJ, saying things like “Everyone knows how great Odell is and he looks better than ever,” etc, etc.
The truth, however, is that Beckham Jr. reaching the heights of half a decade or so ago would come as a shock to virtually everyone, as he’s not only coming off of a major knee injury but is also creeping towards the wrong side of 30 years old, which is usually when wide receivers begin to lose their mojo, anyway.
Earlier this week, in fact, he told reporters that he’s just glad he’s able to get out of bed without pain these days.
“It feels good to be able to get out of bed and not feel pain,” Beckham Jr. told reporters on Tuesday. “It feels good to feel like if I needed to take off running right now, I could take off running. It’s been a long journey this time around and it was its own process, so I just had to take that for what it was.”
Beckham Jr., however, is a famously freakishly athlete, which means that if there’s any player who could defy the status quo when it comes to injuries and aging in the NFL, it’s him.
If all goes to plan and Beckham Jr. makes it through the summer without injury then the former Pro Bowl wide receiver will make his official debut for the Ravens in their Week 1 matchup against the Houston Texans on September 10.