Odell Beckham Jr. believes the NFL should cancel the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, accusing franchise owners of not seeing players as human. 

The NFL is pressing ahead with plans for a full season despite the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, which has the highest number of cases in the world with over 4.8million. 

Preseason games have been cancelled but the regular season is set to take place with either reduced crowds or zero capacity. 

Players across the league have taken up the option to opt out of the season, with eight members of the New England Patriots' roster electing to do so. 

The NBA recently restarted with all games staged in Orlando, with MLB's shortened season finally getting underway last month. 

MLB is operating without a bubble, however, and has already seen outbreaks of cases within the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals that have led to postponements. 

There are no plans for a bubble environment in the NFL and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Beckham feels financial gain is the main reason why those in charge want the season to go ahead. 

"Obviously with everything that's going on, it doesn't make sense why we're trying to do this," Beckham told The Wall Street Journal.  

"I can understand basketball was already in the playoffs. Five-on-five basketball in an arena is going to be more intense than regular-season games. 

"Hooping is different than playing an 11-on-11 contact sport where there's 80 people in a locker room. 

"We're not ready for football season. So why are we trying to push forward? 

"It's obviously for their money. And that bothers me because there's always been this - and I hate saying it like that - but the owners' [attitude is], 'Oh we own you guys', and just kind of that unfairness going on that they don't see us as human. 

"I just feel like the season shouldn't happen and I'm prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn't mind not having it." 

As the NFL's deadline for teams and franchise-tagged players to agree to long-term contract extensions came to pass, the biggest deal was the deal that didn't happen.

So while the soap opera between Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys gets to air another year after the two sides failed to work out a contract that would have put the talented quarterback among the NFL's highest-paid players, a few other teams were busy locking up vital players amid less fanfare.

Derrick Henry will still be pounding the rock for the Tennessee Titans for the foreseeable future, the Cleveland Browns made Myles Garrett the league's highest-paid defensive player and the Kansas City Chiefs will have defensive lineman Chris Jones on board for what should be an extended window for another Super Bowl run.

When breaking down those aforementioned agreements, it appears all three teams were able to get good value even in what's arguably been the most volatile offseason in league history.

Let's start with Henry. On the surface, the four-year, $50 million contract the Titans gave the 2019 NFL rushing champion looks rather risky considering the often short shelf life of running backs and how a similar pact the Los Angeles Rams constructed with Todd Gurley two summers ago spectacularly backfired.

But Tennessee wisely front-loaded the deal, with most of the $25.5 million in guarantees on the books for the first two seasons, and can cut bait without much penalty after 2021 in the event Henry begins to show a steep decline.

It's not hyperbole to suggest that Ryan Tannehill's breakthrough 2019 season was a direct result of the threat Henry presented to opposing defenses as a runner. By extending their most important player, the Titans have not only given their quarterback his best chance to succeed, they've increased their chances of again contending for an AFC title for at least the next two years.

Of course, the road to an AFC championship still figures to go through Kansas City following the reigning Super Bowl champions' massive recent spending spree that resulted in 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes landing a record 10-year extension worth up to $503 million and Jones agreeing to a four-year, $80 million deal.

The Chiefs will have some tough decisions to make to get under the salary cap once the big money in Mahomes' contract kicks in after this season, but they've rightfully identified Jones, whose 24.5 sacks over the last two seasons trails only Aaron Donald for the most among interior defensive linemen, as a player to keep.

And the 2019 Pro Bowler gets the benefits of some long-term security and the chance to reach free agency at the relatively young age of 30 - not to mention the opportunity to realistically add a few more rings to his collection.

Extending Garrett may not have been an urgent matter for the Browns, as the 2017 number one overall pick still had two seasons remaining on his rookie contract, but the five-year, $125 million extension was a shrewd, forward-thinking move by new general manager Andrew Berry.

Sure, $25 million a year for a non-quarterback is a lot of coin, but Cleveland has the most cap space in the league right now and with the way the pass-rusher market has been trending, that annual salary could be a relative bargain down the road if Garrett continues to produce double-digit sacks towards the latter end of the deal.

After years and years of bumbling leadership hires, the Browns just maybe have finally gotten it right this winter with the additions of two impressive young minds in Berry and new coach Kevin Stefanski.

It's still way too early to gauge the impact the coronavirus will ultimately have on the NFL's economic landscape in the coming years, but the Titans, Chiefs and Browns at least appear to have positioned themselves well for the potential pitfalls that may lie ahead.

Myles Garrett expects his shocking on-field clash with Mason Rudolph to "just be a small bump in the road" as he looks to play up to his reported $125million contract extension.

Garrett, the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, was handed a new five-year deal by the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday that is believed to include £100m in guarantees - the most ever for a defensive player.

Although the pass rusher has been productive in Cleveland, recording 30.5 sacks across his three seasons, his most notable act on an NFL field so far came last November in an ill-tempered rivalry game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Garrett clashed with Rudolph, ripping the Steelers quarterback's helmet off and swinging it at his exposed head, an act that resulted in him being suspended indefinitely, with the NFL eventually lifting his ban after the 2019 season ended.

The bad blood between the two continued to linger, with Garrett claiming he reacted to Rudolph using a racial slur - something the Steelers QB denied and an NFL investigation failed to corroborate, but the Browns defensive end does not believe the moment will define his career.

"My life's much bigger than one moment," he told reporters on a Zoom call.

"Me, the Browns and my team-mates are going to look past that and go on to greater success and that will just be a small bump in the road.

"It was a reaction to a situation. It won't happen again. Now I'm prepared."

Garrett added he had not spoken to Rudolph or Pittsburgh's head coach Mike Tomlin, who staunchly defended his player in the wake of the Browns pass rusher's accusation of racism.

"I don't have any ill intent towards either of them," Garrett stressed.

"I hope Mason Rudolph goes on to have success. I would talk to them. I'm going to keep my eyes moving forward."

The 2020 NFL regular season will begin in September and there will once again be high hopes for a Browns team that has talent on both sides of the ball but has yet to deliver on the field.

For Garrett's part, he wants to live up to the megadeal he has just penned.

"Now I have to assert myself as top dog," he said. "I feel like I'm confident and ready to do that.

"Time to prove it."

The Cleveland Browns signed offensive tackle and first-round draft pick Jedrick Wills Jr. to his four-year fully guaranteed rookie contract.  

Wills' deal is believed to be worth $19.7million and includes a reported $11.889m signing bonus. 

Selected 10th overall in this year's NFL Draft, Wills played right tackle at Alabama and yielded just one sack in 29 starts.

He protected left-handed Tua Tagovailoa's blindside in college but is expected to step in and start at left tackle in the NFL. 

Wills is the third top-10 pick to sign his NFL contract, along with Miami Dolphins quarterback Tagovailoa and Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown, the seventh overall selection.

 

David Njoku has requested a trade from the Cleveland Browns, according to his agent.

The tight end, a first-round pick in 2017, is under contract with the AFC North club through the 2021 season after the Browns exercised their fifth-year option on his contract in April.

However, Njoku's agent Drew Rosenhaus says his client wants to continue his NFL career elsewhere.

"It is in David's best interest to find a new team at this time," Rosenhaus told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Njoku missed most of last season through injury but had 639 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2018.

He has 93 catches, 1,066 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in his three years in the league.

However, he may feel his path to more targets from quarterback Baker Mayfield became more difficult when the Browns signed Pro Bowler Austin Hooper to a four-year, $44million deal in free agency.

Cleveland then selected Harrison Bryant in the fourth round of the draft, though new head coach Kevin Stefanski is known to deploy multiple tight-end sets.

Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is not expected to be under any restrictions when the Cleveland Browns begin training camp, coach Kevin Stefanski said.

Beckham underwent sports hernia surgery in January but has participated in the Browns' virtual offseason program. The three-time Pro Bowl selection also posted a video of himself taking part in a full-body workout on social media in May.

"Odell is free and clear. He is 100 per cent," Stefanski said in a Zoom conference on Thursday. "He is looking really good."

Beckham played through the injury throughout his first season in Cleveland and managed to appear in all 16 games in 2019, though his final numbers of 74 receptions, 1,035 receiving yards and four touchdowns were all the second-lowest of his six-year career.

A broken ankle limited the 27-year-old to only four games while with the New York Giants in 2017.

Stefanski also touched on the status of fellow wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who is recovering from a more significant surgery on his hip in February. The six-year veteran's rehab has gone on as scheduled, but the procedure generally requires a six-to-eight-month timetable for full recovery that puts his availability for the expected start of the regular season into question.

"Jarvis, to his credit, he is looking great, some of the videos I have seen of him moving around," Stefanski said. "We will have a plan for [Landry and Beckham] with [senior vice president of player health and development] Joe [Sheehan] and the athletic training staff. We will make sure that we wrap both of them up appropriately."

Stefanski said that to his knowledge, none of his players have tested positive for coronavirus, and added that he and the coaches will continue to stress the importance of practicing preventive measures in order to remain safe and healthy.

"I have told them that the number one priority is their safety and their family, and we want to make sure that we are here for them and providing any resource for them," he said. "I have reminded them ad nauseam to wash their hands, social distance and really heed the advice of these experts.

"I will just continue to make sure that these guys are knowing that they are being encouraged to stay safe while they are out of this building and in this building."

The rookie head coach said the team is slated to begin training camp on July 28, but he's prepared to adjust that schedule should the NFL cancels practices or preseason games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am comfortable being uncomfortable so whatever comes our way, we will be ready. I understand why that may be a concern for some, but we are just going to plan with what is in front of us. If we hear otherwise, we will be ready to pivot."

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said on social media that he "absolutely" will be kneeling during the national anthem in the upcoming NFL season.

Mayfield posted a video to his Instagram account of himself working out in a one-on-one session with a trainer on Friday, and a fan commented: "Please tell Browns fans you're not going to be kneeling this season." 

Mayfield responded: "Pull your head out. I absolutely am."

The response by the Browns' third-year quarterback, who is white, sparked hundreds of comments, some supporting Mayfield but many denouncing kneeling protests as disrespectful to the United States military and the American flag.

"The ignorance in this response says it all," Mayfield said after reading many of the replies. "It's more than just the flag. It's about our country and everyone being treated as equals.  

"I have the utmost respect for our military and people that serve for our freedom."

The practice of kneeling during the national anthem was started by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt to protest police brutality and racial oppression in 2016. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since that season.

While the debate about anthem protests had nearly died out over the past few years, the issue has been reignited by the protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd, who was black, was killed while in the custody of white police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25 when Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.

Mayfield's comment comes after Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week that he regrets not signing Kaepernick in the 2017 offseason.

Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt was also confronted on social media about kneeling during the upcoming season. Watt supported the practice but was not clear whether or not he will take part.

A Twitter user tagged Watt in a reply on Friday, saying: "Pretty sure you won't see [Watt] taking a knee."

Watt replied on Saturday: "A) Don't speak for me. B) If you still think it's about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven't been listening."

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield insisted he was under no added pressure as he prepares for his third season in the NFL.

Mayfield, 25, was the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but has struggled during his first two campaigns.

He signed a four-year deal in 2018 and while he knows the upcoming season is important, Mayfield said there was no need for additional pressure.

"For me, it goes back to the mindset that I am comfortable and living in and that work-ethic mentality. I think that fits it," he said on Wednesday.

"There is no doubt year three is always a big year in these contracts. Timing wise, everybody knows that. I am not going to put any added pressure on myself. There is no need for that because if I win, good things will happen and good things will happen for our team and the guys around me. That is the most important part.

"That is why quarterback is one of the positions that is the hardest in sports. If I play better, our team is going to do better. I put that pressure on myself. It does not matter what year it is. I have to play better each year."

The Browns went 6-10 last season and in 2020 will be aiming to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Mayfield said the time for talking was over for Cleveland and he is happy to be "moving in silence".

"I have a different approach to this year. I think everybody who has been interviewed on our team has hit the nail on the head over and over about it, [it] is time to work. It is time to do our thing, instead of talking about it," he said.

"This is the first media thing I have done just because there is no need to be talking about it. It is just time to go do it.

"Right now, it is kind of moving in silence, which is fine with me. That is how I used to do it before getting on a bigger stage so I am happy to get back to those roots and like I said earlier, get back to the fundamentals to where I can accomplish the goals when the season comes around."

The Cleveland Browns are offering two lucky fans the opportunity to help script plays in an NFL preseason game.

As part of the 'All In Challenge' – a digital fundraiser helping to feed those in need amid the coronavirus pandemic – the Browns are auctioning off the chance for two people to team up with head coach Kevin Stefanski to design the first 15 offensive plays of a preseason fixture.

One winner will be determined in an auction, with the other chosen via a raffle – the deal also including a team dinner, team meeting, leading the Browns out of the tunnel and tossing the coin on the field.

"Giving back is a core component of who we are as an organisation," Stefanski said in a statement. "With the global pandemic, it's really important we step up when there are others in need.

"Just look around at the frontline workers, the health care workers. They're stepping up right now, they're working tirelessly, they're working courageously and it's really inspired our organisation to join the All In Challenge."

On Thursday, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft auctioned off his personal Super Bowl Li ring for $1.025million.

The 'All In Challenge' has raised more than $45.8m, according to its website.

 

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry has never missed a game in his six-year NFL career, and does not believe that streak will end, saying his recovery from hip surgery is "ahead of schedule".

Landry was saddled by a hip injury all of last season after getting injured in training camp.

Despite being slowed, he still managed to lead the Browns with 83 receptions, 1,174 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns to earn a fifth Pro Bowl selection.

"Rehab process is going great," Landry said on Wednesday on a Zoom call from his home in Florida.

"It's just a little difficult obviously, just some of the modality type of things I've been doing that obviously with quarantine and everything I haven't been able to have access to. So that's kind of been the toughest part of it.

"Right now I'm a little bit ahead of schedule, but the most important thing right now is taking it day by day. I can't predict when exactly I'll be on the field, whether that's July, August or September. But obviously my return date is sometime in August."

Landry originally considered against having surgery and gutting out another season playing with pain before opting to go under the knife following the Pro Bowl in February.

He said on Wednesday that having surgery was "absolutely" the right decision.

"It was something I knew I needed," the 27-year-old said. "I was going to try and put off and play the tough guy for one more year. But just understanding where I was, the things it was not allowing me to do, I did not want to be part of the reason for the team not having success."

Rehab from the surgery was expected to take six to eight months, which puts his availability for the 2020 season opener in question.

Landry, though, is motivated to extend his games played streak and sees himself being ready for training camp, when players are cleared to practice amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"That's one of the goals that I would set out for myself since I was a kid watching 'Monday Night Football'," he said.

"And it's still something that's in the back of my mind. Obviously I want to make sure that I'm going through this process the right way, too, and making sure that I'm healthy enough to be able to go out there and help the team win games and not hurt the team."

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is tired of sitting around during the coronavirus pandemic and is taking matters into his own hands. 

Mayfield invited a number of his Browns team-mates to join him at his Texas home for workouts while all NFL training facilities are closed due to COVID-19. 

The Browns have been involved in online meetings with first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski but have not had a chance to practice any plays from the new playbook.

With virtual workouts running through May 29, Mayfield has invited wide receiver Rashard Higgins and tight end David Njoku to his home for the opportunity to run routes. 

Mayfield is looking to put a disappointing 2019 behind him, when he threw 22 touchdowns to 21 interceptions as Cleveland stumbled to a 6-10 finish. 

This was after the Browns were a trendy Super Bowl pick after Mayfield threw 27 TDs with 14 interceptions as a rookie in 2018.  

Odell Beckham Jr. is foreseeing one of his best NFL seasons, the Cleveland Browns star insisting "this is my time".

Beckham struggled in his first season in Cleveland after joining the Browns in a blockbuster trade with the New York Giants.

The three-time Pro Bowler and wide receiver, who played through injury before undergoing core muscle surgery in January, caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns as the Browns missed the playoffs amid high expectations.

As Beckham rehabilitates, the 27-year-old is predicting big things in 2020, saying via his YouTube channel: "Right now what I'm trying to do is hit the reset button.

"Being able to just get everything fixed. Shoulder, arms, back, everything aligned, functional, moving properly, so, I can begin training to be ready for the season.

"I would honestly say this is probably going to be one of my best seasons. Bigger, stronger, faster -- this is my time."

Reflecting on the injury, Beckham added: "So last year I was training in June and July and I was kind of just feeling stuff around the groin area, abs and stuff like that.

"My third week of training camp, I tear a little piece of my ab. So before the season, I kind of had the hernia thing going on. Sports hernia is what they call it. End up at the end of the season, torn abductor, torn rectus abdominis on the right.

"So pretty much, I was just f***** up the whole year, I really didn't try and say anything about it. Probably one of the worst surgeries I've ever had. Recovery's going well. Guess I'm really just trying to put my body back together. I've been playing for 23 years, so for me, I'm trying to put it all back together in seven months."

Beckham's arrival stamped the Browns as an expected contender in the AFC and a team poised to end a then 16-year playoff absence, the longest active streak in the NFL. 

But the Browns failed to live up to the hype last season, slumping to a 6-10 record and leading to the departure of head coach Freddie Kitchens – who was eventually replaced by Kevin Stefanski.

The San Francisco 49ers were the most prominent team on the third and final day of the 2020 NFL Draft but not for their draft choices.  

The 49ers executed three trades on Saturday, highlighted by the acquisition of disgruntled left tackle and seven-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams from the Washington Redskins, giving up a fifth-round pick this season and a third-round selection in 2021.

Williams will take the place of Joe Staley, who announced his retirement after a 13-year career in San Francisco that included six Pro Bowls.  

The 49ers also traded running back Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins for a fifth-round pick and sent wide receiver Marquise Goodwin to the Philadelphia Eagles while swapping picks in the sixth round.   

The Eagles entered the draft on a mission to improve a receiving corps that was historically impotent last season. In addition to trading for Goodwin, Philadelphia spent first-, fifth- and sixth-round picks on wide receivers, including Boise State's John Hightower and Southern Mississippi's Quez Watkins on Saturday.   

Quarterback selections played a prominent role again as the Indianapolis Colts used their fourth-round pick – 122nd overall – on Washington quarterback Jacob Eason.

The 6-foot-6 signal-caller began his career at Georgia but transferred to his home state of Washington and may be Indianapolis' quarterback of the future.   

The player who replaced Eason at Georgia, Jake Fromm, had to wait until the 22nd pick of the fifth round to hear his name called by the Buffalo Bills.    

The New York Jets selected a quarterback in the fourth round, grabbing Florida International's James Morgan, and Oregon State's Jake Luton, another 6-foot-6 quarterback, fell to the sixth round and the Jacksonville Jaguars.  

Four more quarterbacks were taken in the seventh round, but one team that did not select a QB all weekend was the New England Patriots.   

Despite the departure of Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason, the Patriots passed on adding a rookie at the position, leaving journeyman Brian Hoyer and second-year Auburn product Jarrett Stidham as the only quarterbacks on the New England roster.   

The Patriots, however, did draft a replacement for a franchise legend in the fifth round by selecting Marshall kicker Justin Rohrwasser, who will take the place of franchise scoring leader Stephen Gostkowski.   

The Carolina Panthers and new head coach Matt Rhule used all seven of their picks on defensive players, tying the 1985 Cleveland Browns for most picks on one side of the ball. The Browns used all seven picks on offense.  

National champion LSU had the most players selected with 14, tied with Ohio State in 2004 for the most by any single school in a seven-round draft. 

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