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Late for Work 7/25: Odell Beckham Jr. Is All in: 'I'm Thinking Like This Is My Last Year'

From left: WR Odell Beckham Jr., WR Coach Greg Lewis
From left: WR Odell Beckham Jr., WR Coach Greg Lewis

Odell Beckham Jr. Is All in: 'I'm Thinking Like This Is My Last Year'

Odell Beckham Jr. is going to play this season as if it's his last, and it just might be.

"I'm thinking like this is my last year," Beckham told The Athletic's Dan Pompei. "I'm going to give it my all this year. And then if something happens after that, we can go from there."

It's been a long road back to the field for Beckham, who hasn't played since the Super Bowl in February 2022. Pompei's profile piece on Beckham makes it clear that the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver is entering this season with renewed passion and determination.

Beckham, 30, suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in 2020 with the Cleveland Browns, but after signing with the Los Angeles Rams late in the 2021 season, he learned from the team physician that there was no ACL holding his knee together; the surgery in 2020 had not been successful.

Beckham opted to continue playing through the injury, and he was a key contributor in the Rams' successful Super Bowl run. Afterward, he underwent surgery to repair his ACL and meniscus, while also contemplating retirement.

"I went through a lot the last couple of years, and I thought it was over," Beckham said. "I didn't want to get back up on the horse and do the same song and dance all over again."

After Beckham made up his mind to continue playing, he considered returning during the 2022 season before ultimately deciding to sit out and come back in 2023. The question was which team he would sign with. In addition to the Ravens, the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants expressed interest in Beckham.

"During the NFL owners' meetings, he created a stir by showing up in the lobby of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel," Pompei wrote. "The Ravens seized the opportunity and met with him in a conference room. For about an hour, [General Manager Eric] DeCosta, Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome and [Head Coach John] Harbaugh sat with Beckham. But they didn't talk much about football or his knee. They spoke of his hopes and dreams, and being a father.

"Remembering that Beckham signed with the Rams instead of the Chiefs, 49ers, Packers or Patriots in 2021 because he said they made him feel wanted, Ravens owner Stephen Bisciotti made the unusual decision to involve himself, calling Beckham multiple times. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was trying to get a new contract of his own at the time, and he also spoke with Beckham about teaming up."

Still, Baltimore was not at the top of Beckham's list of preferred destinations.

"If I'm honest, I was resistant," Beckham said. "There were other places I wanted to go. I wasn't necessarily a Ravens fan because the Ravens always whipped my ass."

The Ravens proved to be the highest bidder ($15 million for one season) for his services, but Beckham still was unsure, so he prayed about it.

"It's that voice you hear in your head, the feel in your gut, kind of an intuition," Beckham said. "Really, that's God's voice. I started hearing God louder than my resistance. That's God protecting you. The signs were showing me this is the right path."

Pompei wrote: "The voice reminded him the Ravens were a contender and a premier organization. It made him dream about what he and Jackson could accomplish together. The voice told him to think about how he clicked with Harbaugh and enjoyed playing for [Todd] Monken, who became the Ravens' offensive coordinator in February."

John Harbaugh Discusses Relationship With Jackson

During a sit-down interview with The Baltimore Sun’s Brian Wacker ahead of the start of training camp, Harbaugh discussed his relationship with Jackson.

"We both recognize that we're both very competitive about football, both have really big dreams and an understanding," Harbaugh said. "Sometimes we talk about it, sometimes we don't, but there's an understanding about what's possible, and we're very determined to make it happen. Whether it happens or not, we'll see, but I don't think either one of us are willing to say we're not willing to do everything in our power to do our part."

Harbaugh reflected on a pivotal moment early in his time with Jackson. It occurred during a playoff game against the Los Angeles Chargers during Jackson's rookie season.

Jackson was struggling and the fans at M&T Bank Stadium were calling for Joe Flacco to replace him. Harbaugh stuck with Jackson, who nearly rallied the Ravens to victory.

"I think that established the fact that I believe in him," Harbaugh said. "Since then, he's come down so many roads, so many trails, so many U-turns, lefts, rights, gravel roads, highways. We've been through a lot, and I think that's how you build trust over time. Things that have been tough, we've been able to look at each other and say we're good."

Marcus Peters Signs With Raiders; Ravens Reportedly Nearing Deal With Ex-Steelers CB Arthur Maulet

On the same day that former Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, Baltimore reportedly was nearing an agreement with former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Arthur Maulet.

The Ravens are looking to add veteran depth at cornerback behind Marlon Humphrey and Rock Ya-Sin.

Maulet, 30, was released by the Steelers in May after two seasons in Pittsburgh. He had a career-high 59 tackles last season to go along with two sacks and an interception. Maulet also has played for the New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, and New York Jets.

There was speculation that Peters, who played for the Ravens from 2019-2022, could re-sign with Baltimore, but he worked out for the Raiders yesterday and was offered a one-year deal. The Raiders signed Peters after losing Ya-Sin to the Ravens earlier this offseason.

ESPN Pundit Says Backup QB Is Ravens' Most Compelling Position Battle

Backup quarterback is the most compelling position competition at training camp, in the opinion of ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. Incumbent Tyler Huntley, 25, and well-traveled veteran Josh Johnson, 37, are vying for the spot.

"The most talked about position battle is left guard, and Baltimore will have to decide whether John Simpson, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Daniel Faalele or Patrick Mekari will fill the void left by Ben Powers, who signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos," Hensley wrote. "But the more interesting competition is the primary backup to Jackson."

Hensley predicted that Johnson would win the job.

"The pick here is the underdog Johnson, who would represent $1.5 million in cap savings over Huntley," Hensley wrote. "Baltimore looked to upgrade the No. 2 quarterback spot this offseason, which indicates that Huntley's job isn't safe, especially after he struggled toward the end of last season. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Ravens added another veteran quarterback if Huntley and Johnson don't have a great start to camp."

One veteran quarterback who has been speculated about as a potential fit for the Ravens is Teddy Bridgewater, who visited the Detroit Lions yesterday.

Quick Hits

  • The reveal of the NFL’s Top 100 Players, as voted on by the players themselves, began yesterday. Humphrey came in at No. 92.

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