The bad blood between current Cleveland Browns players and former defensive coordinator/interim head coach Gregg Williams continues. On Thursday, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., whose time on the team never overlapped with Williams, accused him of ordering his players to intentionally injure him in 2017 during a preseason game while he was the Browns’ defensive coordinator.
Williams, now the defensive coordinator with the New York Jets, whom the Browns are about to face, denied that he has ever run his defense by ordering players to deliver “dirty” hits, though that is more of a technicality than anything. He has publicly talked about wanting to take players out of the game before—before he was suspended for a year, that is. He took his newfound rivalry with Beckham to another level by denying the wide receiver’s talents.
Also yesterday, we had another wrinkle. Browns safety Damarious Randall, who actually played under him last season, had some choice words for his former coach, telling reporters, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, that he’s “got no love for him at all”, adding, “I’m happy he didn’t get the job here. Because if Gregg would’ve gotten the job here, I would’ve requested a trade immediately”.
Williams took over as interim head coach in the middle of last season after Hue Jackson was fired. He was one of the candidates who were in consideration for the full-time head coaching position after the season was over, but the organization ultimately chose to go with Freddie Kitchens, the running backs coach who took over as interim coordinator after Todd Haley was fired alongside Jackson. Williams was also considered to remain on as defensive coordinator, but they opted to go another way.
Randall was only acquired by the Browns last season in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. A former first-round pick who had played cornerback for them, Cleveland brought him in, sending 2017 second-round quarterback DeShone Kizer, and moved him to safety, where he has solidified himself.
According to Kabot, Randall even said that he hates Williams, but would not elaborate, saying, “me and him know what it is. It is what it is”. He also denied a report from last season that he was thrown out of a practice during the 2018 season, and if that was a motivation for his hatred of his former coordinator.
This new-look Browns team certainly seems to be fueled by grudges, with Randall being among the main proprietors of said grudges. After Jackson joined the Cincinnati Bengals following his firing, he intercepted a pass the next time the two teams played one another, and he ran up to the Bengals’ sideline to hand the ball to his former head coach.