The March blockbuster trade that brought Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon to Cleveland also reunited Beckham with his former LSU teammate Jarvis Landry. But there's a third figure in their past who's been in Cleveland even longer than either of the wideouts: their former position coach.
Adam Henry was hired as Browns receivers coach in January 2018, likely without the knowledge he'd be welcoming not one, but both of the incredibly talented wideouts who starred under his tutelage at LSU. Sixteen months later, he's again coaching the pair with all three members of the Tiger Triumvirate trading purple and gold for brown and orange.
That qualifies them as three people who matter, according to head coach Freddie Kitchens' criteria. It also creates quite the lofty expectations for the position group, which possesses more star power than it has in decades.
"It could be pretty special, but again, we've got a long way to go," Henry told reporters Thursday in his first media session since the Beckham trade. "It's something that you look forward to and potentially on paper, it's something that's good. But just getting the rapport, the me to you, things of that nature. We've got a quarterback that can throw it with great leadership, and with Freddie's mind and play-calling we'll be in a good situation."
Check out photos from the ninth day of OTA practices
The process of bringing them together and building such a rapport began with voluntary minicamp and OTAs. Beckham and Landry were on the field together for exactly one of those days, with Landry spending the majority of the period on the sidelines as a precaution, and the former Giants star opting to train on his own, as he's done during every offseason as a professional. It elicited a Thursday response from Kitchens that could be interpreted in a number of ways.
When asked what Beckham has missed, Kitchens replied "a lot." When pressed to elaborate, he was equally as short, saying "the offense."
Earlier, Kitchens explained how the team completed an installation of the base of the offense and defense during OTAs. He was pleased with the work accomplished, which is important for a team with a new coaching staff. One might surmise that as a result, Beckham would arrive for mandatory minicamp at a disadvantage.
Henry, though, has a lengthy history with Beckham, having joined the LSU staff after Landry and Beckham's rookie seasons. The two stayed in frequent contact beyond their time in Baton Rouge, with Henry saying Thursday that Beckham has "a good football brain" and is "always asking football questions." He knows better than to be too concerned with Beckham's absence.
"He's going to work," Henry said of Beckham. "He's a worker, he's a guy who works hard, he's always in condition, you've got to save him from himself when he's practicing because he'll just go and go and go. He's like the young person with a ball. If there's a ball being thrown or kicked, he wants it. He wants to play. Even (in the) course of practice, offense may not be going, defense is going, he's doing something. He's a busybody in that way."
Check out photos from the first day of OTA practices
Henry's presence, in fact, could serve as a reason for optimism more than anything else. He's already been able to help Beckham with his adjustment to a new city, market and fan base, a process that has left Beckham feeling "very comfortable now," according to Henry.
He thinks the combination of the reunited best friends (Beckham and Landry) and quarterback Baker Mayfield should produce plenty of success for the Browns and for Cleveland's newest star, who Henry thinks has his best football ahead of him. He also believes Beckham and Cleveland are a perfect match.
"I think it'll be great for him because the fans are tremendous here," Henry said. "The fans are great, they're receptive to him and they're going to let him be him and accept him for who he is and I believe this is a great market for him and a great place for him."
If Beckham has to confirm this opinion, he won't have to look far for an honest answer. Two of his closest confidants will be right next to him at work.