Cleveland sports fans are celebrating the Browns' trade for Odell Beckham Jr. on a return-of-LeBron level.
Beckham is good enough to justify the hype.
Still, the fact remains he's a member of the Browns because the New York Giants wanted to get rid of the superstar wide receiver who was often criticized for causing headaches for his former team.
The unwanted headlines Beckham, 26, generated in the Big Apple are as well-documented as his acrobatic catches.
In one episode of Beckham's New York saga, he appeared on ESPN in October, reportedly without notifying the Giants ahead of time, and fueled a widespread narrative about his frustration with quarterback Eli Manning. Asked if the Giants had an issue at QB, Beckham said, "I don't know," and went on to explain Manning had not been throwing deep enough for Beckham's taste.
So it's not shocking that an unnamed source recently explained the Giants' reasoning for trading Beckham by telling SportsNet New York, "He had become too much of a pain in the ass. And there was a real fear that eventually it would get worse."
None of it scared Browns General Manager John Dorsey away. Beckham's talent is too tantalizing.
"I know Odell is very passionate, know he's competitive and I know he can help this football team," Dorsey said Thursday on a conference call, speaking publicly about the blockbuster trade for the first time. "If you can get the chance to acquire a guy like that, you know what? Take a shot at him.
"We all understand the magnitude of his ability to play the game of football. He's a good football player, and you can’t have enough weapons around you. He's a really good asset to have on our football team."
Dorsey insisted the Browns research every player they acquire, and the presence of wide receiver coach Adam Henry proved to be invaluable throughout the process. Henry was Beckham's position coach at Louisiana State University for two seasons and with the Giants for another two seasons.
"It helps to have his college position coach on your staff," Dorsey said.
Although Dorsey said he didn't consult receiver Jarvis Landry or quarterback Baker Mayfield before trading for Beckham, the relationships those players have with each other is undoubtedly a source of comfort.
Beckham and Landry played together at LSU and are extremely close.
"They are best of friends," Dorsey said. "They are very competitive with each other. I heard [former LSU coach] Les Miles talk about how those two would drive each other and push each other when they were at LSU to compete. I think [they] can only help each other because that competition brings out the best in any athlete."
Beckham and Mayfield have become friends in the past year, working out with Landry and other Browns players last offseason and dining together this offseason. It's among the reasons Dorsey is confident Mayfield can unify the strong personalities on offense.
"With Baker, he showed last year that he can step up to certain challenges," Dorsey said. "The object of this thing is to surround him with as many good football players as you possibly can. It seems like Odell and Baker have a relationship formed. I'm not sure where it formed, but they tell me that they have a relationship and that it's a good relationship. I'm excited to see what the whole bunch can do."
Meanwhile, first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens must handle raised expectations as a result of Beckham's arrival.
"Expectations, I hear a lot about that, but I know this — good football teams, they win in the fall," Dorsey said. "What we've done is we've added some talent. Now, the chemistry part has to take over with it. Teams win in the fall. They don't win in March.
"Freddie is one of those individuals who I love because he's so straightforward and honest. He's direct. He's going to set expectations high. There's that accountability level. He will make players be accountable. He's the same guy every day. That's who he is."
Dorsey agreed to ship right guard Kevin Zeitler to the Giants for defensive end Olivier Vernon last Friday, but the GM said he didn't know the Beckham trade would materialize until late in the afternoon or early in the evening on Tuesday. Shortly thereafter, news broke that the Browns would receive the three-time Pro Bowler in exchange for a first-round draft pick (No. 17 overall), a third-round choice (No. 95 overall, from the New England Patriots) and starting strong safety Jabrill Peppers.
Cleveland first became a rumored landing spot for Beckham a year ago during the NFL owners meetings. At the time, Dorsey revealed he had coffee with Giants GM Dave Gettleman at the meetings and later the same day pointed out Beckham's connections to Henry and Landry during an interview with NFL Network.
"It was a hypothetical that sometimes you can plan for, but you can plan for stuff that 99 percent of the time doesn't transpire," Dorsey said. "This just so happened to be that 1 percent that your planning actually paid off."
Last month at the NFL Scouting Combine, Dorsey said the Browns weren't ready to "go for it" with a monster deal for a player of Beckham's caliber. On Thursday, he shot down the theory that he changed his mind as he watched other AFC North teams lose significant talent during the initial wave of free agency.
Either way, the Browns, on paper, are positioned well to win their first division title since 1989.
"With the addition of certain players that we have acquired," Dorsey said, "I think we will be competitive."
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.