Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry (11.5.21)

Opening statement:

“Good afternoon everyone. Obviously, with the statement this morning and the roster move that we are eventually going to be making, I thought it was important for me to spend a little bit of time with you guys this afternoon. I do not think that anyone envisioned what the organization traded for (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) three years ago that this would really be the resolution. It is unfortunate, but at the same time, there are just some situations in the NFL where things just do not quite work out. That being said, I do want to say that Odell, he is a good person who brought really a special energy in the building and developed a lot of really strong relationships with teammates, staff members and coaches. We really do want all parties to kind of emerge from this successfully. With that being said, there are times in business partnerships where things do not just work out, and that is where we are today. Those decisions are incredibly difficult, but at the end of the day, it was the decision I felt was appropriate for our team.”


On if there was ever a realistic opportunity to trade Beckham either last week or last summer:

“You guys know I do not talk about trade transactions or anything like that. I will keep those discussions private. Realistically, there are a lot of players that get discussed among teams, and very few of them actually get serious. Again, I will keep all those discussions private.”


On when he knew Beckham no longer wanted to be with the Browns:

“Again, any discussion that I would have with a player, representation or something along those lines, those topics I will keep internal.”


On if there was a trade request made by Beckham in the offseason:

“I do not think that is something that is really appropriate to discuss.”


On if the Browns would have been better off trading Beckham before the trade deadline and the video being posted on social media instead of releasing him now:

“To be honest, this really is not about the video. It is really about a series of discussions, certainly over the last week but even spanning back longer than that. At times, I do think that whether you want to call it a level of frustration that exists that just really just makes it difficult to have a productive reconciliation.”


On why the situation with Beckham ended the way it did and why Beckham’s tenure with the Browns did not work out:

“I know that is always tough because the reality of these situations there is some information that is not as appropriate to disclose more publicly. I can tell you that really everyone had put a ton of time and energy into it, and everybody is disappointed that this is the outcome, but it is where we are. Just sometimes they do not work out, and we have to move forward and focus on Cincinnati.”


On when it became clear this situation with Beckham was untenable, given Beckham played on Sunday:

“I think it is something that became clear to me realistically in the past couple of days.”


On if had the opportunity to speak directly with Beckham, in addition to Beckham’s representatives:

“I did. I did talk to Odell. Now again, the details of those conversations, realistically they remain private. I can tell you the discussion was cordial and it was professional. Again, I am not going to share what my discussion was with him in this setting.”


On if he spoke with current Browns players about the situation with Beckham and the decision to release Beckham:

“I had discussions with some of our players, but the nature of those discussions is not necessarily about making the decision. Ultimately, that is something that I felt I was most appropriate for the organization after internal discussions, discussions with his reps and obviously discussions with Odell, but we certainly did have follow-up conversations with guys in the locker room.”


On some data points showing that QB Baker Mayfield is more productive when Beckham is not on the field or when throwing to other players and if he is interested to see how Mayfield performs going forward with Beckham no longer playing for the team:

“This really is not like a Baker question. All I can say is I think Odell is a talented player. I think the offense functioned well with him. I think we have seen it function well when he has not necessarily been available. We are focused on making sure that we can score as many points as possible for the rest of the season.”


On if the Browns have completed the process of releasing Beckham or if there is still work to be done with Beckham’s representation:

“There are still procedural elements that we have to work through. That is what we are doing right now. Hopefully, that will be finalized in the next few days.”


On if he felt this resolution is where the Beckham situation was headed prior to Tuesday or if that occurred in the past three days:

“I do not know that I could really put my finger [on it] in terms of exactly when I felt this way. Probably realistically, it felt like it was potentially heading there at maybe at a little bit of a point earlier, but again, after enough discussions with his reps and internally and just thinking through things, I thought this was most appropriate. “


On if he is concerned the situation could have become divisive within the Browns locker room, particularly given criticisms of Mayfield on social media:

“I think we have a strong locker room full of a number of professionals. I know that their focus is on beating the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday. Speaking realistically, any decision like this, the reality of it is you are not necessarily going to get consensus anywhere. I think people realize that and acknowledge that, but again at the end of the day, some things do not work out, and my job is to make sure that I make the decisions that I think are in the best interest of the team.”


On DE Myles Garrett sharing he was among players who was not the first player to say he was disappointed to not receiver more information from the team about the situation with Beckham and if Browns management wishes it had done something differently in that aspect:

“I think the reality of it is it is always tough in these situations because No. 1, as you guys are learning, there are some details that are not appropriate to be shared with everyone. Even secondly, over the past couple of days, we were working through and working towards just the final resolution. Being able to share everything or just the finality of it, it really would have been premature.”


On if he is confident the Browns did everything they could to repair the relationship with Beckham before reaching this resolution:

“Again, I think there was a lot of time and energy spent really on all sides of this, and I think there are a number of considerations at play. I think again this is the right decision at this point in time.”


On if there was motivation to resolve the matter quickly:

“Honestly, I think the focus was trying to do it the best way possible and the right way possible for all involved because it is a little bit of a complicated dynamic, and we were trying to work through that in the best manner possible.”


On how the Browns resolved Beckham’s contract matters:

“I think you know me well enough – I do not talk about contracts in this type of setting in any regard.”


On if he has a preference if Beckham is claimed via waivers or becomes a free agent:

“Again, I am not going to talk about contracts. I will just tell you this: Wherever Odell is, we are going to face talented guys every week. The reality is once all of that is finalized, we wish him success, and we are going to focus on our next opponent.”


On why there did not seem to be a concerted effort to get the ball to Beckham, given there appeared to be a concerted effort to get the ball to WR Jarvis Landry:

“I guess I would push back a little bit on that notion. I think that really in the passing game and the passing game in this system, it is designed to get the mismatch. I think we have a number of skilled pass catches. From week to week to week, that can be a different player. I think the other element of it is – I do think our coaching staff was very focused on getting Odell involved – if you look at it, the first eight weeks of the season, he was our most targeted pass catcher, and he did it in two fewer games. Now that being said, being critical of ourselves, I think (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) mentioned earlier in the week that, hey, there were moments where he thought he could have done a better job of exploiting Odell’s talents. At the end of the day, he was a big part of it. It may not have been as smooth as we all would have liked at certain points, but I think the notion that he was ignored or anything along those lines was not the case.”


On the Browns’ focus on changing the culture in Cleveland and how the team approaches this situation to ensure it does not significantly alter that priority or the season:

“It is a great question because these are always difficult because there are real relationships that have been formed over the past three years since Odell has been here. Look, these difficult decisions exist every year, and we try to be as empathetic as we can and we try to communicate as best we can with the appropriate information. That is just something that we have to continue to work at every day.”


On if there was an element to protecting the organization’s culture with the decision:

“We try to protect our culture daily. I do not know that I would make a great grand statement with this transaction. I just think the reality was it did not work out, and that became apparent over the past couple of days, and I thought it made sense to move on.”


On his responsibility to communicate with the rest of the team about these types of situations:

“I think that it does fall on us – me and Kevin. It is tough. I will be honest, it is tough. I do not know that we ever get it 100 percent right, just to be candid, but at the same time, it is a difficult and sometimes nuanced situation where there are pieces of information, there are discussions and there are conversations that just are not appropriate to share in a broader context – it is not fair to all of the parties involved. You do your best to try and balance it to share enough where people can understand enough of the why to at least look at it from multiple perspectives. Look, there always is going to be an element that people will want more or hope for more that unfortunately, you just can’t always share.”


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