They’ve monitored the veteran receiver’s ACL rehabilitation progress, they’ve monitored his return-to-play timeline, and now they find themselves monitoring a flight he boarded — and from which he was removed before takeoff.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed that the team collected information on a Sunday morning incident in which Beckham was scheduled to fly from Miami to Los Angeles. Instead, Miami-Dade police escorted him off the flight before it took off.
Team owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the incident “did not” change the Cowboys’ interest in Beckham.
“His overall team compatibility, his judgment, his behavior is not an issue with him," Jones said during his Tuesday morning radio show on Dallas station 105.3 The Fan. “It is with many but not with him.”
American Airlines confirmed in a statement to Yahoo Sports that a customer was removed for failing to follow crew instructions and refusing to fasten a seatbelt. Miami-Dade Police said they were “dispatched to a medical emergency” after Beckham “appeared to be coming in and out of consciousness” prior to departure.
“Fearing that Mr. Beckham was seriously ill, and that his condition would worsen through the expected 5 hour flight, the attendants called for police and fire rescue,” the department said in a statement to NFL Network and others. “Upon the officers arrival, the flight crew asked Mr. Beckham several times to exit the aircraft, which he refused.”
Beckham’s attorney called the incident “unnecessary," saying his client “fell asleep with his blanket over his head, which is normal practice for long flights.”
All of this unfolded amid the Cowboys’ boisterous courting of Beckham, Jones even saying he connected with Beckham the day of his team’s Thanksgiving game vs. the Giants. The Cowboys are scheduled to host Beckham for a visit on Monday, Jones confirmed, with possible dialogue earlier.
Beckham tore his left ACL on Feb. 13 in the Super Bowl, his second tear to the same ACL in 20 months. The now 30-year-old nonetheless was productive with the Rams after a midseason move from the Cleveland Browns. Beckham contributed five touchdowns in eight regular-season games with Los Angeles as well as two more in the postseason.
Jones dreams of a similar scenario, seeking Beckham’s services to bolster a playoff run this season rather than only augment Dallas’ receiving corps next year. Asked about reports that Beckham’s health may trend more toward a 2023 return, Jones said “we have to have [him] this year.”
“It’s very important, the things we do to have him impact this year,” Jones said. “This year has to be a big part of it. Now this year, of course, we have six regular-season games and the playoffs [left]. We have in my mind almost a whole show ahead of us.
“We’ve got to have a situation where he can really contribute now.”
The Cowboys improved to 8-3 with a Thanksgiving win over the Giants in which their two top receivers, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, had their best collective game of the season, combining for 19 catches and 169 yards. Lamb hauled in an impressive one-handed grab, while Gallup flashed with contested catches he hadn’t executed since tearing his ACL last spring. Dallas’ tight end group continues to also threaten defenses; the group combined for 90 yards and three touchdowns while catching all seven targets from quarterback Dak Prescott in the win over the Giants.
With a two-headed running attack from Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, Dallas’ challenges stem less from a dearth of talent than a dearth of consistency.
Beckham, they hope, would add another element to hamper defenses, opening up existing roster members as much as Beckham himself. Stephen Jones began to temper his comments on Monday.
“We’ve kind of said what we’re gonna say about Odell,” Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “Certainly, it’s getting to that point where this thing’s going to get very competitive, and probably the less said the better until we know what the outcome is going to be in terms of where he’s going to suit up.”
Jerry Jones had no such hesitation about discussing the receiver who has caught 531 passes for 7,367 yards and 56 touchdowns in 96 career games. Jones answered five straight questions about Beckham on Tuesday morning.
“Very genuine, very competitive, feels confident, feels good about himself,” Jones described his impressions. “I think he breeds confidence. And yet very, very just compatible. We think he’d fit in really good with us.”
The Giants, who drafted Beckham 12th overall in the 2014 NFL draft, are also interested in a possible reunion. Jones said he wouldn’t worry about Beckham visiting the Giants or any other franchises before the Cowboys.
“Not at all,” Jones said. “I know what this area is, I know what the Dallas area is, I know what football means to this area. And I do know that we’re the most visible team. So from that standpoint there’s a lot of interest in it.
“Everybody likes to be a part of something that is substantive, and that’s the Cowboys.”
The Cowboys currently trail the Philadelphia Eagles by two games in the NFC East, the league’s winningest division. If the NFL playoffs started today, all four NFC East teams would advance.
Follow Yahoo Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein