CLEVELAND — New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is not the kind of football coach that lets comments or attacks on his character go unchecked, not from members of the media or players on opposing teams.
One day after Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. accused Williams of ordering dirty hits on him during a 2017 preseason game with the intent to hurt him and put the Pro Bowl pass catcher on the sideline because of injury, the veteran coach responded in his weekly press conference Friday.
“Odell who?” Williams quipped. “That was a joke.
“I just found out about it, but we’ve got several players that have already mentioned things about that. We don’t do that. I’ve never done that anywhere I’ve been.”
During the game in question, cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun delivered a hit to Beckham Jr.’s leg and caused a high ankle sprain. That Preseason Week 2 injury prevented Beckham Jr. from playing in the final two exhibition games, as well as the 2017 regular-season opener.
Beckham Jr.’s entire 2017 season never fully got on track after that, as by Week 6, he suffered another ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for the remainder of the year.
Injuries aside, Beckham Jr. responded to the shortened season in 2017 with a 77-catch, 1,052-yard, six-touchdown effort for the Giants in 2018.
“You guys are cooperating and giving him attention,” Williams said to the media. “Just don’t give him attention. It just is what it is.”
When asked if such accusations hurt more when they are coming from one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers, Williams turned the questions on the New York media.
“That’s your opinion?” Williams asked. “What’s New York’s opinion? The Giants’ opinion? What did the Giants do? That’s not a question for me.”
This is hardly the first time Williams has been accused of coaching his athletes to play outside the rules.
While serving as the New Orleans Saints’ defensive coordinator (2009-2011), an NFL investigation found Williams led a “bounty” scandal where he would award bonuses for players who took out opposing athletes. For his role in “Bountygate,” Williams was suspended indefinitely, which covered the entire 2012 season.
“We don’t do anything to hurt the team,” Williams said. “It’s the No. 1 primary thing. If you’re committing penalties, you’re doing that type of stuff…we just don’t do it.”