Odell Beckham Jr. was ‘very, very’ close to joining the Patriots after his release

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Beckham told reporters it would have been “ideal” if Tom Brady was still in New England.

Odell Beckham Jr. of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates with fans after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. Photo Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Brace yourself Patriots fans, this one might sting: Odell Beckham Jr. told reporters Monday he was “close” to landing in New England after the Browns released him earlier this year.

“Very. Very, very, very,” Beckham said. “I don’t think I joked with [Bill Belichick] on the phone, but I was like, ‘You know, if that was three years ago, that would have been ideal.’ Because Tom is one of my favorites.

Beckham added that playing for Belichick would have been an honor.

“For a coach like Bill Belichick, who I’ve looked up to for years and seen and always said, ‘Man, one day I’m going to play for Bill Belichick,’ to get him to call me, to be able to just sitting on the phone with him and talking about football, I mean, it’s like, what more could you ask for?” Beckham said. “So I was very close, it was one of the teams that was there -inside. But I felt like it was my home. I felt like that was right.

The Browns officially released Beckham in November. He said he considered the Saints as well, in addition to the Patriots and Rams.

“It just wasn’t the right time,” Beckham said on Monday. “Right place. Wrong time.”

In the end, however, the Rams were able to offer him a great situation – warm weather, a competitor and more.

“I took a lot of time in the decision making, and it wasn’t to build anticipation or anything,” Beckham said at the time. “It’s my life and I feel like I’ve been through a lot. I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready to play football, I’ve dedicated, I’ve sacrificed a lot to be here. It just happened to feel good in my heart and in my soul.

Beckham had five touchdowns, 16 first catches and 305 yards in eight games with the Rams. In the NFC Championship Game, he caught 11 passes for 113 yards.

“They’re a great team,” Beckham said of the Rams in November. “I have a great opportunity to do great things, and I just want to be part of it.”

As much as Patriots fans might have wanted to see Beckham in New England, he seems to have made a pretty solid choice.

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