Thursday's NFL: Warrant issued for Browns receiver Beckham

Associated Press

New Orleans — A misdemeanor simple battery warrant has been issued for Browns wide receiver and former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr., police in New Orleans said Thursday.

The warrant comes as video posted on social media appears to show Beckham swatting a security officer’s buttocks during LSU’s locker room victory celebration after Monday night’s college national championship game in the Superdome.

A misdemeanor simple battery warrant has been issued for Cleveland Browns wide receiver and former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr., police in New Orleans said.

“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,”the Browns said in a statement. “They are cooperating with authorities to appropriately address the situation.’’

LSU players were seen smoking cigars — forbidden in the Superdome — in pictures from the Monday night celebration. Authorities reportedly warned them they could face arrest.

In a 27-second video available on Twitter, a security officer is seen standing over an LSU player sitting on a locker room bench.

The officer appears to be searching around the bench and pointing to the floor.

He can be heard talking about a “burn mark” just before Beckham approaches him from behind and appears to swat his backside.

The arrest warrant follows another post-game controversy involving Beckham.

LSU has acknowledged contacting officials from the NCAA and Southeastern Conference about Beckham apparently handing out cash to Tigers players on the field after the national championship game.

LSU athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said initial information suggested that Beckham handed out “novelty bills” to players after LSU defeated Clemson on Monday night.

However, further investigation showed that Beckham may have given away real money, Bonnette said earlier this week.

“We were in contact with the NCAA and the SEC immediately upon learning of this situation in which some of our student-athletes may have been placed in a compromising position,” Bonnette said.

Beckham, who is from New Orleans, had an interesting first season with the Browns, who acquired him in March from the New York Giants in a blockbuster trade.

Beckham, a 27-year-old three-time Pro Bowler, skipped most of the team’s preseason training camp and his absence might have contributed to him seeming to be out of sync with quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Beckham played most of the season with a sports hernia injury that might require surgery. Despite not being completely healthy, he still played in all 16 games and finished with 74 catches for 1,035 yards.

However, he had just four touchdowns, his fewest in a full season.

The flashy wide receiver was fined by the NFL for wearing an expensive watch during a game and was asked by officials to change his helmet visor as well as cleats that did not conform to league rules.

Extra points

49ers general manager John Lynch won the Pro Football Writers of America Executive of the Year award on Thursday.

Lynch was honored for his role in helping transform the 49ers from a four-win season in 2018 to a 13-3 record this past season. San Francisco earned the top seed in the NFC for the first time since 1997 and is playing Green Bay in the NFC championship game on Sunday.

The Niners are just the sixth team to make the conference title game in the Super Bowl era a year after winning four or fewer games. Their nine-game improvement was the best in franchise history.

... With Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski on board as their new coach, the Browns have accelerated the search for a general manager. They will interview Patriots director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort.

Ossenfort, who has been with New England for 15 seasons, will talk with the Browns today. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not disclosing its plans before interviews take place.

... The Panthers are hoping Joe Brady can bolster a sagging offense like he did at LSU.

Carolina officially announced Thursday that Brady will be their new offensive coordinator after one year as LSU’s passing game coordinator. Brady won the Broyles Award given annually to the top assistant coach in college football after helping the Tigers to a 15-0 season and a national championship.