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Browns Send Odell Beckham Jr. Home with Illness Thursday

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Cleveland Brown wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was sent home from practice with an illness Thursday, head coach Kevin Stefanski said.

Beckham did not test positive for COVID-19, but Stefanski and the Browns decided to hold him out of today’s practice out of “an abundance of caution.”

With Cleveland confident Beckham’s illness is not COVID-related, the star wide receiver should be available for their matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday.

After a disappointing first season with the Browns in 2019, Beckham has blossomed in Year Two under Stefanski. He has already caught five touchdowns this season and rushed for another score though five games. Beckham had five touchdowns all of last season.

Cleveland will need Beckham at full strength Sunday, when they face a Steelers pass defense that is currently ranked fourth in the league. Pittsburgh is also tied for the league-lead in sacks with 20 through just four games.

Steelers Opponents

Bengals Release former Steelers Center B.J. Finney

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The Cincinnati Bengals have released center B.J. Finney, the club announced Friday.

Finney began 2020 with the Seattle Seahawks after signing a two-year, $8 million deal in the offseason, but was traded to Cincinnati on Oct. 28. He saw action in just one game with the Bengals.

Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State by the Steelers in 2015, Finney played four seasons in Pittsburgh as a plug-and-play offensive lineman. He started 13 games over his Steelers career.

The Steelers lost starting center Maurkice Pouney to retirement and starting left guard Matt Feiler is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career.

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NFL

Mic Drop: Hating Tom Brady is Simply Jealousy

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Do you hate Tom Brady? If you answer yes to that question, ask yourself why you hate Tom Brady. Mike Asti explains why it’s time for football fans to just stop hating Tom Brady and realize that their hatred is simply rooted in jealousy for the greatest quarterback of all-time.

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NFL

Le’Veon Bell Doesn’t Regret Sitting Out 2018 Season with Steelers

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Le’Veon Bell doesn’t regret the path he took to leave the Pittsburgh Steelers, he told reporters on Tuesday.

It seems to have worked out pretty well for Bell, who will play in Super Bowl LV this Sunday, the first Super Bowl of his career, in his second season after signing a contract that took him away from Pittsburgh.

Bell sat out the entire 2018 season after refusing to sign the Steelers’ second consecutive franchise tender. Instead, he waiting for free agency and signed a four-year contract with the New York Jets worth a guaranteed $35 million.

A year and a half into that contract, the contract wasn’t working out for either party, as Bell had failed to recapture the individual success he had in Pittsburgh and the Jets were well on their way to a second straight losing season. Bell asked for a trade from New York, and when the Jets couldn’t find a partner, they released Bell.

He caught on in Kansas City, signing a contract for the rest of the 2020 season to help the Chiefs take the load off rookie starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He ended up starting two games for Kansas City and playing in nine, rushing for 254 yards and two scores.

But even during the worst of his run with the Jets, Bell said he never considered sitting out in Pittsburgh to be a mistake.

“No, that never crossed my mind,” Bell said. “Me sitting out, I feel like it helped me on the back end of my career. … It kind of like reset my body. I feel like it’s going to help me for the end of my career and elongate my career.”

Bell expressed some disappointment in not being able to play the Steelers in the postseason. Pittsburgh was unbeaten when Bell signed with the Chiefs, and it looked like the teams were on a collision course in the AFC, but the Steelers lost five of their last six games to close the season.

“We thought we were going to have to see the Steelers at some point, which I was excited about,” Bell said. “Obviously, it didn’t end up happening.”

One member of Bell’s Steelers that he will see this week is wide receiver Antonio Brown, who also manufactured his exit from Pittsburgh, demanding a trade in the 2019-20 offseason that took him from Pittsburgh to Oakland. Brown was then cut by the Raiders, signed with New England, got suspended and was released again before eventually signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It’s crazy to think as long as we’ve been playing together, we’ve never made it to this point, but playing against each other is going to be fun,” Bell said.

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