Odell Beckham Jr. has jogged onto the practice field for mandatory minicamp numerous times in his NFL career, but the trip he made Tuesday had a different vibe to it.
It was the first time that Beckham ran on the field as a member of the Ravens, and the first step of his return since tearing his ACL in Super Bowl LVI 16 months ago while a member of the champion L.A. Rams.
Beckham signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Ravens in April after missing all of last season recovering from the ACL injury. Ravens Coach John Harbaugh told reporters before practice that despite Beckham being a “full go” from a health standpoint, the team would ease his repetitions at practice this week as he got acclimated to the offense.
“He’s worked really hard to get himself back to this point,” Harbaugh said of Beckham. “He’s excited to go and I’m sure he’s a little anxious anticipating being back on the field for the first time. We’re not going to go crazy out here, but I think it’s a good first step for him and of course we’re excited that he’s here and we’re excited all of our guys are here.”
Beckham skipped practices during the Ravens’ voluntary organized team activities, so Tuesday’s practice was the first action that the star receiver had on the field with quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens are trying to ease Beckham back, but reps with their franchise quarterback are important as the season inches closer.
His work was sprinkled in during his first practice with the team, as expected. Beckham participated in positional drills with receivers but mostly observed from the sideline during team drills as the day progressed. Here’s how his first day went from start to finish:
12:22 p.m. Wearing an Orioles City Connect cap with a black zip-up hoodie, T-shirt and shorts, Beckham walked into a scrum of media before practice to give his first press availability with Ravens media since his introductory press conference with the team in April. He admitted that he still felt a level of excitement for returning to the field even as he tried to play down his inner emotions.
12:42 p.m. At the conclusion of his press conference with media, Beckham gave a warm embrace to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, who caught the tail end of his availability.
1:35 p.m. Beckham walked on the field for the first time as a Raven alongside rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers. He stood behind receiver Shemar Bridges and wore long black sleeves with his helmet in his right hand.
1:40 p.m. While the team practiced punt returns, Beckham was near the back of the end zone working one-on-one with Flowers. The two talked and practiced getting in and out of breaks.
1:45 p.m. With his helmet in his right hand, Beckham was on one knee talking with receivers Rashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor and their position coach Greg Lewis.
1:53 p.m. Beckham put his helmet on and got into an individual drill, with Lewis leading the way. Lewis had arm shields on both of his arms and was working with the group on using their hands to beat press. Beckham’s first drill went smoothly, as he ripped inside and ran through the rep.
1:58 p.m. Beckham and the receivers stayed with Lewis for another positional drill. This time, he had the unit focus on maintaining their center of gravity to help get into their breaks quicker. The receivers ran about five yards, stopped at a cone, and then proceeded to run five more yards and stop again.
2:02 p.m. In another positional drill, receivers practiced two slants: one inside and one to the flat. Assistant wide receivers coach Keith Williams led the drill with high energy. Both of Beckham’s breaks looked good as he caught both passes.
2:10 p.m. Tyler Huntley joined the group to help with the next drill. Beckham was spread out to the right, with Lewis matched up against him at cornerback. Beckham ran about 10 yards off the line of scrimmage before Huntley hit him for a competition across the middle.
2:13 p.m. Beckham was back for the same drill, but this time it was on the opposite side of the field. Huntley shot another pass for Beckham, but this one was a bit high and slipped out of his hands.
2:25 p.m. In 11-on-11 action, Beckham started on the sideline standing to the right of Lewis as the drill began. Huntley was leading the Ravens second-string offense against the second-string defense as he observed.
2:32 p.m. Still in 11-on-11 action, Beckham got a go with the second unit. He was aligned outside on the left side of the field with Andy Isabella slotted inside. Beckham ran a 10-yard slant and caught a clean, accurate pass at his chest from Huntley. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken was calling the drills enthusiastically.
2:37 p.m. For the first time all practice, Beckham got a rep with the first-team offense and Jackson at quarterback. He was matched up against cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and broke to the middle of the field to run on a crosser. Jackson’s pass floated a bit, and Ya-Sin got his hands on the ball for a near-interception.
2:41 p.m. Beckham ran another crosser with the starters but the play ended with an incompletion on the other side of the field.
2:47 p.m. One of the highlights of the day came when Jackson rifled a bullet to Beckham on another slant across the middle. While the pass was a bit low, Beckham got underneath it, grasped the ball with both hands and made the catch.
2:48 p.m. To conclude the 11-on-11 period, Beckham stumbled while making a break to the left sideline while matched up against cornerback Trayvon Mullen.
2:53 p.m. As the team moved to the next period, Beckham was off to the side getting water with his helmet off. Harbaugh came over and chatted with him for about a minute during the middle of practice as he took a knee.
3:05 p.m. With special teams taking up a portion of the practice field, Beckham walked and talked with Lewis on the sideline before standing in a huddle led by Williams, who was addressing the entire receiver group.
3:16 p.m. The Ravens transitioned to the 7-on-7 period, with Beckham on one knee the whole period as a spectator.
3:28 p.m. Beckham was still on one knee, taking in practice as the team moved back to 11-on-11 drills. This time, he wasn’t participating and had his helmet in his right hand.
3:43 p.m. As 11-on-11s continued, Beckham was still watching from the sideline but was standing and talking with Bateman, who was being held out of practice after receiving a cortisone shot in his foot.
3:50 p.m. Near the back of the end zone, receivers worked against defensive backs on a blocking drill. As the DBs run inside and outside, the receivers trail them and focus on using proper hand placement to shed blocks and get past the defender. Beckham gets his hands underneath the defender and maneuvers around the block attempt.
3:55 p.m. The final horn of practice blew. Beckham walked over to the team huddle and to the right side of safety Kyle Hamilton. He leaned in as Harbaugh delivered his last message to the team for the day and the huddle broke.