Odell Beckham Jr. said Thursday he was told by some Browns teammates that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now the Jets’ defensive coordinator, instructed his team to “take me out of the game” when the Giants played the Browns in a 2017 preseason game.
“In preseason, nobody in the NFL is out to do stuff like that,” Beckham told reporters at the Browns’ training facility. “I had players on this team telling me that that’s what he was telling them to do, take me out of the game, and it’s preseason.”
Beckham, who did not say which players told him about Williams, said he will be mindful of avoiding “cheap shots and dirty hits” against the Jets.
Beckham was injured in a preseason game in Cleveland when he was hit low after catching a pass. Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun hit Beckham at the knees when the then-Giants receiver leaped to make a catch. He suffered a sprained ankle on the play. And while Beckham was healthy enough to play in the regular-season opener, he suffered a season-ending injury on the same ankle in an Oct. 9 game against the Chargers at MetLife Stadium. The injury required surgery, and Beckham said Thursday that the preseason injury led to the broken ankle.
"Kind of like a little spiral," Beckham said. "It's something that I'll never forget. It's something that changed my life forever."
Beckham will face Williams’ defense when the Browns visit the Jets in Monday night’s game at MetLife Stadium. It is the first time he will go against a defense coached by Williams since the 2017 preseason game.
“You just know who he is,” Beckham said of Williams. “Just the man. That’s the man calling the plays.”
Williams was implicated in the infamous Bountygate scandal when he was the Saints’ defensive coordinator. He was suspended indefinitely for allegedly having a system in which he rewarded players for making big hits on opponents from 2009 to 2011. The suspension was overturned after one season. Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season.
Williams is scheduled to address Jets reporters Friday.