KhaDarel Hodge Re-Signs with Browns

Above: Browns Wide Receiver/Special Teams player Khadarel Hodge takes in a catch at team practice on Sept. 15, 2020. Mandatory Credit – Cleveland Browns website.

While missing a good chunk of games in the first memorable season for Browns fans since 2014, one of the top players on special teams will be back for another year. The team recently resigned restricted free agent (RFA) KhaDarel Hodge to a one-year, $2.33 million contract. Hodge, who was claimed off waivers from the Rams before the beginning of the 2019 season, missed 8 games in 2020 due to hamstring injuries and positive COVID-19 tests. In the 9 games that he did play, he finished with 11 catches for 180 yards. He also has value to the Browns as a special teams player in blocking ability on returns, and he’s a versatile athlete that can line up at any wideout position if necessary.

This season may be a bit more complicated for Hodge, as not only will he have competition for playing time with star wideouts Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry, but he will also have to deal with more depth in Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and third-round draft pick Anthony Schwartz. 

Hodge was a high-school quarterback at Mendenhall High School in Mississippi, where he threw for over 3,000 and ran for over 2,000 yards with 68 total touchdowns over his junior and senior seasons, resulting in being named Second-Team All-State in 2013. Following his days at Mendenhall, he committed as a quarterback to Alcorn State University (Division I FCS). He redshirted after one season and transferred to Hinds Community College in his home state of Mississippi, played one season and switched positions to wide receiver, and then transferred in 2016 to Prairie View A&M (Division I FCS), where he played three seasons, accumulating 104 receptions for 1797 yards and 21 total touchdowns. His senior campaign was filled with accolades, as he was named first-team all-Southwestern Athletic Conference and Black College All-America, finishing with 48 catches for 844 yards and a dozen scores.

Hodge went undrafted in 2018 and signed with the Los Angeles Rams in July following a tryout. His first career NFL catch came against the Seattle Seahawks on October 7, and appeared in 14 regular-season games during his rookie campaign, finishing with two catches for 17 yards and six total tackles on special teams (five in the regular season, one during the postseason). Following the Super Bowl LIII loss to the Patriots, Hodge signed an executive rights contract with the Rams. In September of 2019, the Browns claimed him off waivers. He played in all 16 games of the 2019 season, obtaining four receptions for 76 yards while leading the Orange and Brown with 13 special teams tackles. The Prairie View Panther signed a one-year tender in April of 2020 but was placed on injured reserve in October due to positive COVID tests and an unspecified hamstring injury. Hodge was activated from IR to return on Dec. 3, and was placed on the COVID list before the Browns’ playoff game against Pittsburgh in January. He finished his COVID and injury-plagued year with 11-17 (11 catches on 17 targets) for 180 yards. 

Hodge received a restricted free agent tender back in March, and he officially signed on May 26. Now preparing to enter his fourth season in the NFL, KhaDarel Hodge is facing more adversity, but he’s looking ahead to new challenges and new progress with the Browns.