Odell Beckham Jr. made waves last week when he went public with accusations that Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams once told players to purposely injury him.
And that wasn't the first time Beckham thought Williams ordered his players to take the star receiver out.
The Beckham-Williams feud has its roots in 2014, when Beckham was a rookie with the Giants and Williams was fresh off his BountyGate suspension as the defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams. In a late December game, Rams defenders appeared to target Beckham multiple times with late or questionably legal hits.
Beckham, according to a source close to the receiver, remains convinced that Williams ordered those defenders to try to injury him that day, too.
They didn't succeed that time -- Beckham had eight catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder, in the Giants' 37-27 win. But as Beckham remembers, Williams' Browns defense did knock him out of a preseason game in 2017 when he suffered an ankle injury that Beckham believes led to two years of ankle and leg issues. He got hurt on an excessive hit from Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, but last week Beckham said, "I had players on this team telling me that that's what (Williams) was telling them to do -- take me out of the game."
It's not clear if Beckham had similar "evidence" from the game in St. Louis on Dec. 22, 2014, but a source said he definitely told people afterwards that he felt Williams and then-Rams coach Jeff Fisher sent their players on a mission to take Beckham out. At the time, Beckham was gaining a reputation for being volatile and defenders were starting to try to get in his head with trash talk, rough play, and after-the-whistle shoves.
But there's no doubt the attacks that day seemed excessive. Beckham and Rams safety T.J. McDonald were engaged in a battle all game long, with McDonald even getting called for taunting Beckham (in fairness, Beckham did a lot of taunting of his own, too). On one play, McDonald appeared to launch himself head first in the direction of Beckham's head, but he missed and hit Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines instead, knocking his teammate out of the game with a concussion.
Everything really boiled over, though, late in the first half when Beckham ran out of bounds on the Giants sideline. Current Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree, then with the Rams, drove Beckham into the turf and landed on top of him. He then shoved Beckham in the facemask as he tried to get up.
That's when all hell broke loose in a fight that ended with two Giants -- defensive end Damontre Moore and receiver Preston Parker -- getting ejected along with Rams defensive end William Hayes.
The NFL handed out more than $100,000 in fines to players on both teams for that game. Beckham was fined $10,000 for kicking an opponent, while Ogletree drew an $8,268 fine for a late hit. The big losers were Parker and Moore who were fined $15,000 each.
The Giants did not publicly single out Williams after that game. Several players placed the blame on Fisher instead. The most vocal Giant at the time was linebacker Jameel McClain, who called the Rams "dirty" and said they "suck as an organization" but didn't name Williams as the ring leader.
Williams, of course, has denied ever ordering players to purposely injure opponents, despite being caught on tape doing exactly that during the New Orleans Saints BountyGate scandal.
"We don't do that," Williams said. "I've never done that anywhere I've been."
Beckham has multiple reasons to disagree.