The cost of winning a championship can be brutal. Just ask Odell Beckham, Jr. The LA Rams wide receiver suffered an ACL knee injury in the first half of Super Bowl 56 and Beckham never returned to action.
LA Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr withers in pain after he suffered an ACL knee injury in Super Bowl 56 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Image: USA Today Sports)
Beckham joined the Rams sideline in crutches and street clothes to watch his teammates rally from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals to win Super Bowl 56.
On Monday, and MRI revealed that Beckham tore the ACL in his left knee. It’s the same knee that he injured back midway through the 2020 season when he played for the Cleveland Browns.
Beckham is a free agent, but his future with the Rams is a big question mark. At the same time, it’s common to bounce back from one ACL surgery. However, it’s difficult to return to full form with a second blown-out ACL.
If Beckham returns to the Rams next season, it will have to be at a discount. Before the injury in the Super Bowl, there were rumors that Beckham could join the Kansas City Chiefs next season. That’s still a possibility if he has a speedy rehab. However, since it’s the second time he suffered an ACL injury on the same knee, it’s probably wise to sit out the entire 2022 season and return fully healed in 2023.
Beckham Boosts Rams
Beckham started the 2021 season with the Cleveland Browns. However, quarterback Baker Mayfield suffered a shoulder injury in the first week of the season when he tried to tackle a defender that intercepted him. Mayfield struggled the rest of the season, along with the Browns’ passing attack. Beckham was already frustrated with Mayfield prior to the injury and wanted a bigger role in the offense. After the injury, the vibe in the locker room grew increasingly worse.
In six games with the Browns in 2021, Beckham caught 17 passes for 232 yards and zero touchdowns. In 29 total games, he caught just 114 passes for seven touchdowns and 1,586 yards.
In his five-year career with the New York Giants between 2014 and 2018, Beckham played 59 games. He caught 390 passes for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns.
He begged out of Cleveland, which set the table for him to explore other options. When Hollywood called Beckham, it was almost too good to be true with a chance to catch balls from Matthew Stafford. Then again, he’d have to share the ball. At best, he’d be the third option behind Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.
Beckham’s timing was impeccable. In the week he joined the Rams, Woods suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice. Beckham went from playing third fiddle to a much-needed WR #2.
In eight games with the Rams, Beckham caught 27 passes for 305 yards and five touchdowns. The Rams were 5-1 in games in which he caught five or more passes.
OBJ Bad Beat
Heading into the Super Bowl and with all eyes on Kupp, Beckham would have the more favorable matchup against the Bengals. This came to fruition in the first quarter. Stafford and Beckham hooked up on a 17-yard touchdown pass and the Rams jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
Beckham has two catches for 52 receiving yards, and he was halfway to the coveted century mark before the injury. Then disaster struck. Beckham fell to the turf clutching his left knee. Beckham blew out his ACL in a non-contact injury, and NBC cameras caught the expression of pain and agony on his face after he took off his helmet while medical staff from the Rams attended to him.
“This is everything I’ve ever dreamed of, you know,” said Beckham. “There was a moment I was in the back room and they told me I was done, I couldn’t play. I had to come back out there and be a part of this because it’s so much bigger than myself. And these boys pulled through and made it happen.”
Woods, who had not played since November, was in the locker room to comfort Beckham.
“Actually spent some time with him in the locker room before coming out after halftime and just, really just held him,” explained Woods. “It’s tough. He’s dealt with a lot I would say his whole career. He’s a competitor, I know he’ll be back even stronger and hopefully he’s back with us.”
Without Beckham, the offense sputtered in the third quarter. However, Stafford and Kupp got into a groove in the fourth quarter, especially on the final drive the cumulated into a game-winning touchdown. The Rams beat the Bengals 23-20 to win the Super Bowl. Even though Beckham was on crutches, he was a Super Bowl champion.