FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jets safety Jamal Adams was a high school recruit visiting Louisiana State University the first time he met Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham, then an L.S.U. junior and Adams’s host for the visit, had already established himself as one of the best wide receivers in the Southeastern Conference, and Adams would soon do the same at safety. He remembers his host’s wardrobe on the day they met: a white silk shirt, black leather pants and Timberland boots.
“I’ll never forget it,” Adams said after the Jets practice on Thursday. “It was definitely different.”
Adams ended up at L.S.U. in the fall of 2014 but never played with Beckham, who left college for the N.F.L. draft that spring.
The two will meet each other on an N.F.L. field for the first time on Monday night, when the Jets (0—1) face off against the Browns (0-1) in Beckham’s grand return to MetLife Stadium, which he called home for five colorful seasons as a Giant.
Adams said “without a doubt” that his onetime host would be looking to make a statement on his old stomping ground.
“He’s the best receiver in the game,” Adams said, adding, “It’s no friends on the field, he obviously knows that.”
Beckham, who was traded to the Browns in March, characteristically stirred things up this past week, accusing Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams of instigating dirty play during a preseason game two years ago, when Williams was Cleveland’s defensive coordinator. Beckham claimed that Browns players told him that Williams had instructed them to try to hurt him; Beckham sustained an ankle injury.
Williams was suspended for the 2012 season because of his role in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal, in which defensive players were paid to injure their opponents. At a news conference on Friday, Williams dismissed Beckham’s remarks.
“Never done it anywhere I’ve been,” Williams said. Ultimately, he said the news media should ignore Beckham’s claim.
“You guys are cooperating, giving him attention,” Williams said. “Just don’t give him attention.”
It has generally been difficult to do that, as Adams learned immediately on his college visit. In his time with the Giants, Beckham had 390 receptions for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns, including spectacular one-handed catches that became his trademark.
Beckham had a subpar first game for the Browns, catching seven passes for 71 yards and no touchdowns as Cleveland fell to the Tennessee Titans, 43-13. Still, the most striking difference from Beckham’s Giants tenure was the absence of the mop of blonde curls atop his head. To beat him and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Jets will have to overcome some significant absences.
The Browns will be facing a depleted team playing without its top quarterback, Sam Darnold, who was ruled out indefinitely on Monday because he has mononucleosis. Trevor Siemian, who has not played in a regular season game since Dec. 14, 2017, will start in Darnold’s place.
The Jets gave up a 16-0 lead and took a 17-16 Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills after their defense collapsed in the second half, and the offense failed to convert on several key plays at the end of the game.
“Last week was last week,” Adams said. “We lose one and the world ended, obviously. Am I lying? The world kind of ended.”
Jets Coach Adam Gase was curt when assessing his team. He specifically noted the mistakes made by the wide receivers, including a crucial missed connection between Darnold and receiver Robby Anderson late in the game.
“We can take it,” Anderson said of the criticism from his head coach. “We are going to be held accountable. We aren’t kids.”
Ahead of the game against the Browns, the Jets made a trade with the New England Patriots for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to add depth and experience at the position. Gase coached Thomas in Denver when he was the Broncos’ wide receivers coach (2009-12) and offensive coordinator (2013-14).
Even though Thomas was recovering from a hamstring injury and had not practiced with the Jets as of Friday, Dowell Loggains, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, said he was confident that Thomas would be able to slide right into the offense.
“I think sometimes it takes a while for coaches to figure out the strengths of a player,” Loggains said. “We’re fortunate with this guy because the head coach has a really good feel for the guy’s skill set.”
The Jets will need Thomas, especially as the team adjusts to a new quarterback, and to playing without their receiver Quincy Enunwa, who has been declared out for the season because of a neck injury sustained in the opener. Thomas is listed as questionable for Monday.
“It’s the N.F.L., next man up,” Anderson, who caught only three passes for 23 yards in Week 1, said. “We’re going to hold it down.”
On defense, the Jets will be without two of their top players; linebacker C.J. Mosley, who left Sunday’s game with a groin injury, and defensive end Quinnen Williams, the third overall pick in the 2019 draft, who left with an ankle injury.