"I'd say that it wasn't handled right," Mayfield said. "He's not able to run as well as he ... should be able to, as well as he knows. And that's frustrating for him. You can sense some of his frustration, where that comes from. It wasn't handled the right way, in our training room. It is what it is. His not 100% is still good enough for us."
Mayfield's comments came on the heels of reports that Beckham is weighing offseason surgery to correct an injury he has been dealing with since training camp. After Sunday's game, Beckham replied, "I don't know. We'll figure it out after the season," when asked whether the injury will require surgery. Beckham also said he's unsure what his injury actually is, although NFL Network reported Sunday morning that Beckham had a sports hernia injury.
"I don't really know," he said. "You have to ask the doctors if you have a chance to interview them. I really don't know what to tell you."
Whatever the injury, Mayfield suggested that had Beckham undergone surgery during the preseason, he -- and the Browns -- would've been better off than they are now, as Beckham has had to play through pain all year for a team that is 6-7 with just a slim shot of still making the playoffs.
"I think it could've been addressed earlier on," Mayfield said. "Looking back on it, obviously, hindsight is 20/20, he probably would've missed the first two [games]. One or two. Just based on the fact that it was during training camp. It is what it is. We're here right now. It's too late to do that. He's fighting through pain; he's playing through pain. That shows you the type of guy he is."
After speaking to reporters, Mayfield posted tweets offering an apology for his comments, and clarified that his intentions "were not to throw our medical staff under the bus."
"No I don't know all the facts about Odell's injury," he added. "It was emotionally answered because I can sense his frustration and I care about my team and putting us in the best position to win.
"Those people within our building know my intentions and where I am coming from. I truly believe that and I apologize to those that don't deserve the backlash.... today was a good team win. On to the next one."
Those people within our building know my intentions and where I am coming from. I truly believe that and I apologize to those that don't deserve the backlash.... today was a good team win. On to the next one.— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) December 8, 2019
The 27-year-old Beckham has been on the injury report throughout this season for what has been termed hip and groin injuries and has regularly been a limited practice participant since early on during training camp, sitting out all four of Cleveland's preseason games. In his first year with the Browns, Beckham is also having the worst statistical season of his career, excluding his injury-riddled 2017 one with the New York Giants.
On Sunday against the Bengals, Beckham was quiet again, finishing with only two catches for 39 yards, his seventh consecutive game without topping 100 receiving yards, the longest such streak of his career.
"I really don't run until Friday," said Beckham, referring to his practice week. "I come out here and do what I can. At this point, it is what it is. There is nothing you can really do but finish out the season."
Beckham's health wasn't the only thing looming over the team Sunday.
On Thursday, Beckham was vague about his future in Cleveland past this season, telling reporters, "no one knows what the future holds, like tomorrow." He followed up with a tweet Friday indicating he was not saying that he was unhappy in Cleveland but was just hoping for better results.
But Sunday morning, FOX Sports reported during its NFL pregame show that Beckham has been telling opposing players and coaches before games, "come get me" out of Cleveland.
When asked about the report, Beckham tersely said, "I'm not gonna talk about any offseason stuff that's going on right now. The focus is to win -- 1-0. And that's what we did today. So, any other questions about it, I'm not gonna answer."
When then asked if it troubles him that stories about his future are already coming out in this way, Beckham replied that he's "used to it" and that "he's been dealing with it for three or four years" dating back to his time with the Giants.
"It's just the same thing that's going on," he said. "Not anything that I can't handle."
Coach Freddie Kitchens declined to comment on the report Beckham wants out of Cleveland.
Mayfield added that he hasn't gotten the sense Beckham is looking for a way out, and that he continues to have a "good relationship" with the All-Pro.
"The drama is just drama," Mayfield said. "It continues to be that on the outside. Within our walls, we know exactly what we have. ... So I'm not worried about that."