The Dallas Cowboys report that the recent incident on a flight from Miami to Los Angeles that involved free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. being removed from the plane has not dampened the team’s interest in talks set for December 5.
Beckham has not played since tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl while a member of the Los Angeles Rams. Beckham tore the same ACL in 2020 while a member of the Cleveland Browns. There has not been a recent update on the status of his rehabilitation, but he is reported to be ready to practice by December. Beckham would not likely be available for a game until late in the season, so his decision to sign will likely have a lot to do with which teams are in the playoff hunt.
On Sunday, Beckham was aboard an American Airlines flight from Miami-Dade International Airport to Los Angeles when a medical response team was called to the plane. According to Miami-Dade police, Beckham was initially unresponsive to requests to put on his seatbelt, forcing the taxiing plane to return to the terminal. At the terminal, Beckham allegedly refused to leave the plane but was escorted off without incident once the other passengers had departed. The flight was delayed for nearly an hour and a half.
Beckham was woken up “and told that the plane was back at the gate and that he needed to get off the plane because he did not put his seatbelt on when asked.” The football star “responded that he was asleep and that he would put his seatbelt on at that time.”
However, the airline allegedly insisted that “it was too late, and that either he would have to get off the plane or everyone would have to deplane.”
“At no time was Mr. Beckham disruptive or combative. He was willing to comply,” the statement claimed. “Sleeping on a plane should not be a cause for removal from a flight.”
Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner and general manager, told listeners during his weekly appearance on 105.3 the Fan that the incident has no impact on how the team perceives the receiver.
“His overall compatibility, his judgment, behavior is not an issue with him,” Jones said. “It is with many but not with him. We think he’d fit in really good with us.”
Beckham was not charged or cited over the incident, and his attorney has released a statement that shifts blame to flight personnel overreacting to the situation.
When asked at a Monday news conference whether the incident would affect the Cowboys’ pursuit of Beckham, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said that, to his understanding, the team is still “full steam ahead” on their pursuit.
The Cowboys are scheduled to have an official meeting with Beckham on December 5.
Among the vocal teams courting the receiver’s abundant talents are several teams on the cusp of playoff runs. The Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants are both scheduled to meet with Beckham. The AFC-leading Kansas City Chiefs are rumored to be interested, but talks have not been announced.
Several Cowboys players have been vocal about bringing Beckham on board, including linebacker Micah Parsons and quarterback Dak Prescott.
“S–t we can use him,” Parsons told reporters earlier this month. “I think he’s a great player. He’ll expand this offense. He’s a guy you want on the team beside all the other critics (sic) stuff that people make up and s–t about him. He can add real value to the team and help us do what we want to do.”
Some critics are not quite as sold on the need for the Cowboys to add Beckham, who could bring distractions to a locker room that has finally shown promise in recent weeks. Receivers CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup are both healthy and beating defenses, while the tight end group is proving to be equally effective.
Before the Sunday incident, ESPN’s First Take analyst Chris “Mad Dog” Russo said Beckham was “the last thing” the team needs right now. “The LAST thing the Dallas Cowboys need is Odell Beckham! … You bring Beckham in, you bring all sorts of distractions to the party,” Russo suggested.