Baltimore Ravens receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is set to face his old team, the Los Angeles Rams, for the first time since winning a Super Bowl with them in 2021. Beckham said there is no bad blood, but rather the opposite.
Beckham played less than a season for the Rams, after parting ways with the Cleveland Browns mid-season in November, and looks back on the time in a positive light. The 31-year-old said he is looking forward to seeing some of his old teammates.
"It's a special bond that I have with those guys over there -- Coop [Cooper Kupp], [Matthew] Stafford," Beckham said. "I still hit a little group chat. Talked a little trash with them this week. It's just all love and respect."
Beckham said L.A. was an important stop in his career, going so far as to call it "one of the best things that's happened in my life."
"… The whole situation and organization brought me back to loving and having joy for football and understanding true professionalism and being prepared," Beckham said. "It was just a great experience for me, alongside winning a Super Bowl."
The veteran finished with 27 receptions for 305 yards and five touchdowns with the Rams. He started all four playoff games he played, with Los Angeles, racking up 21 receptions on 24 targets, 288 yards and two touchdowns, including the first TD in Super Bowl LVI.
Beckham began his career with the New York Giants in 2014, staying there until he joined the Browns in 2019, where he was not without some drama. The wide receiver says the Rams were different than some other situations he was in. Beckham credited head coach Sean McVay for creating a culture where players could thrive and win.
"There's been other situations where I didn't feel prepared the way that I felt prepared over there from the way that they come in for meetings, in the way that they look at the film and dissect each player, team, [saying] 'These plays are going to work.' I just felt prepared," Beckham said. "I think McVay does an incredible job. I remember even [in] the month of November, they lost. I don't know what to say, 'we' or 'they.' I'm over here now, but we, at the time, had lost three games in a row, and I watched him never waver."
Beckham continued, saying not all coaches handle things the way McVay did.
"I've seen some coaches lose, and you see a completely different person, so that's always been my biggest compliment about him. He knows, for sure. Publicly, I've spoken about him. I have nothing but the utmost love and respect for him and that place over there and those people."
McVay had nothing but praise for his former pass catcher.
"Yeah, I keep in touch. I love Odell. He sure means a lot to me. It was a blessing to be able to coach him and he's as fun a guy as there is," McVay said. "He's so talented. He works hard. He's a great teammate. The ways that he elevated our program and what he meant to our team."
McVay said it is more than OBJ's on-field ability that made an impact, saying he appreciates Beckham as a person as well. Usually, McVay says he roots for Beckham, but is making an exception for this week.
"I have a lot of good memories, a lot of good memories that he made some huge plays when we went back here in 2021 on a fourth-down catch, and then obviously being able to make the game-winning touchdown. But he's on the bad guys this week so we'll root for him after that," McVay said.
Beckham injured his ACL in the Super Bowl, causing him to miss the entire 2022 season. The time sidelined led to him coming back to the AFC North, this time with the Ravens.
Beckham reflected on going from facing the Ravens to playing for them.
"Two years ago, I was over there, and I scored a touchdown to win the game [against the Ravens]. Now, I'm over here," Beckham said. "Hopefully, I can do the same thing and return the favor to them."
So far this season, Beckham has played in 10 games, missing three contests due to injury. He has 27 receptions for 408 yards and two touchdowns.
The Rams and Ravens are scheduled to face off on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at M&T Bank Stadium.