Bitonio, Johnson say Browns locker room would welcome OBJ back


BEREA, Ohio (WJW)– Cleveland Browns guard Joel Bitonio and safety John Johnson III said the locker room would welcome back Odell Beckham Jr.

The wide receiver was excused from practice on Wednesday and Thursday following a video his father posted on Instagram that’s critical of quarterback Baker Mayfield. Meanwhile, OBJ’s representatives and Browns management are in talks, according to head coach Kevin Stefanski.

“I feel like we don’t know what the situation is, you know what I mean. We think he’s a great player when it’s on the field, but we don’t know what the situation is. We don’t know what’s really going on. We probably know as much as you guys know from outside the building,” Bitonio said.

Johnson, who started his media availability Thursday with a smile, outstretched arms and “What’s on your minds?” said he didn’t watch the video from Odell Beckham Sr., but he was a little surprised.

Both players said the team isn’t divided on the issue and they don’t feel it’s a distraction as they head into Sunday’s game against the Bengals.

While Beckham’s status with the team remains unclear, Johnson and Bitonion said he’d be welcomed back.

“Hopefully, we can get him back, if that’s possible. That’s just my opinion on it. And if not, we’ve got to carry on,” Johnson said. “The majority of this locker room would love to have him in this building. Flat out.

“If he wants to come back and be part of the team, I’m sure we’d welcome him with open arms,” Bitonio said. “Whoever’s on the field with us, we have to do our best and we have to play our best each and every week.”

As for Mayfield, the subject of the video, he told reporters on Wednesday he was surprised, not hurt.

“I would take anything to have a winning team right now. Our focus needs to be on winning and anything like this, stuff that’s created on the outside, drama-wise takes away from the focus and attention to detail we need to have, which is exactly why we haven’t been able to win,” he said.

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