ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Odell Beckham Jr. looks as if he’s fully recovered from ankle surgery. The New York Giants star receiver sounds like it, too.

“Just to be back in the swing of things, I just feel like I’m back in love with what I’ve always loved,” he said Thursday.

Coach Pat Shurmur declined to say if Beckham would play in his first preseason game Friday night against the Detroit Lions.

“I’ve got a plan,” he said. “It will get revealed.”

Beckham, 25, broke his left ankle nearly 10 months ago, putting his short and stellar career in jeopardy. At the Lions’ training facility, there seemed no doubt Beckham is nearly healthy.

He ran sprints and made sharp cuts on his own, testing his ankle. The three-time Pro Bowler effortlessly made one-handed catches during drills. He also appeared to run full-speed routes against Detroit defensive backs, including All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay.

“I’ve been going against Slay since Mississippi State,” said Beckham, a former LSU star. “Every time I see him, it’s always good energy. Obviously he’s been one of the best corners in the league.”

And when healthy, Beckham is one of the NFL’s best receivers.

He averaged 96 catches, 1,374 yards receiving and nearly 12 touchdowns per year over his first three seasons. His last season was cut short in the fourth game, limiting him to 25 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns.

As talented and accomplished as Beckham is, he acknowledged it was encouraging to face unfamiliar competition.

“It was a good confidence-builder,” he said. “We’ve been doing it in practice. You put the pads on, you go against somebody else. It was a lot of fun. It was much needed.”

The Giants don’t need to push rookie running back Saquon Barkley back onto the field with a strained left hamstring, and they probably won’t in Detroit. The No. 2 overall pick was held out of practice for a third straight day and likely won’t play in the team’s second preseason game.

Barkley acknowledged it was frustrating to watch practice.

BRONCOS: John Elway might find himself in the market for a veteran backup quarterback soon, yet there’s one man who won’t be getting a call: Colin Kaepernick.

“Colin had his chance to be here,” Elway said when asked if the former San Francisco quarterback would be an option if he decides Case Keenum’s backup isn’t already on Denver’s roster.

“We offered him a contract. He didn’t take it,” Elway said. “And as I said at my deposition (in Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit against the NFL) – and I don’t know if I’m legally able to say this – but he’s had his chance to be here. He passed.”

Kaepernick declined to take a pay cut from his $11.9 million salary to facilitate a trade to the Broncos in 2016 following Peyton Manning’s retirement.

BROWNS: Cleveland has made it clear that the starting quarterback job is Tyrod Taylor’s, but that hasn’t quieted the buzz around Baker Mayfield, who had a dazzling preseason debut last week.

Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick, will follow Taylor on Friday night and play up to two quarters against Buffalo in his first game action in front of Cleveland fans hoping he can lead them to a brighter future – just not yet.

Coach Hue Jackson is adamant about Mayfield learning behind Taylor and said the Heisman Trophy winner is going along with the plan.

“Baker wants to play – we all know that – but I think Baker also understands that when his time comes, the organization and myself will make the best decision when that is, and he gets that,” Jackson said. “Right now Tyrod is our starting quarterback.”

Dez Bryant, the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, arrived at the team’s headquarters and the free agent’s visit could lead to Bryant signing with Cleveland. Bryant posted a photo on Twitter signing autographs at Cleveland’s airport.


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