Odell Beckham Jr. stepped off the golf cart on the grass field behind Pat Catan Stadium at Strongsville High School and surveyed the scene around him.
Teams of kids raced to the Browns veteran receiver as he grabbed a football and prepared for a few snaps at quarterback in one of the dozens of scrimmages around the field. Beckham launched deep balls and gave shoulder bumps as kids ran, leaped and yelled to mimic the energy Beckham brings on gameday.
Beckham was all smiles Tuesday as he pranced around the facility for the Odell Beckham Jr. Youth ProCamp, which garnered more than 650 kids in grades 1-8 looking to learn a few moves — both for the gridiron and the dance floor — from the three-time Pro Bowler and 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The scene was perfect for Beckham, who garnered 44 career touchdowns and 5,476 receiving yards with the New York Giants before he was traded to the Browns in March.
“I’m a big kid at heart,” Beckham said. “I feel like I can relate to (the kids) so much. Whether it’s the dances, this, that. The thing I love about kids is that they’re innocent and pure. They really haven’t seen the world as much, so they just live.”
After the scrimmages concluded, Beckham walked around the line of kids waiting their turn for the 40-yard dash and offered high-fives, fist bumps and hugs. For the kids who sported his signature blonde fade haircut, and there were plenty of them, Beckham stopped and smiled.
Near the end of the camp, Beckham went 1-on-1 as a defensive back against a few daring kids looking to juke out the wide receiver.
Beckham sang and danced his way to the line of scrimmage and eyed up each kid, sporting a wide smile, as Drake music blared from the speakers. For most snaps, Beckham waited for his opponent to catch the ball before playfully tackling them to the ground.
On one play, though, Beckham broke out his famed one-handed catch, sending the massive crowd of kids into a frenzy.
After the 1-on-1s, Beckham slowly weaved his way through the throng of kids rushing to get a picture, handshake and an occasional dance-off with the star before taking a break underneath the shade of a nearby tent.
“This is who I do it for,” Beckham said. “This is why I’m inspired to do more and put the cleats on every single day and keep going.”
After a chug of water, Beckham sat back on the cart to be driven to another group of campers across the field.
As dozens of kids shouted his name, Beckham rode off and flashed his pearly white smile one more time.