BEREA — Receiver Jarvis Landry has been to the Pro Bowl three times in four seasons and continues to break NFL records for catches.
His sights are set much higher — on Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” he said. “That’s every kid’s, every guy that plays this game’s dream to eventually make it to the Hall of Fame and be recognized for the guys that paved the way and did it before us,” he said Thursday. “And to have an opportunity to be there in history and that’s forever, that’s definitely a goal of mine.”
It has been for some time.
“It was clicking since the day I put on pads at 12 years old,” he said. “I made my mind up then and decided then. I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to wait until you get into something to decide you want to be great at it.”
The latest Landry milestone came Sunday when he surpassed Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald for most catches in the first five years of a career with 429. Landry needed only five games of his fifth season to pass Fitzgerald’s 426 from 2004-08. Landry’s jersey was sent to the Hall of Fame.
Next on the list are Torry Holt (423), A.J. Green (415) and Julio Jones (414) and Randy Moss (414).
Landry called Fitzgerald an “idol” and said he hears lots of stories about him from coordinator Todd Haley and No. 3 quarterback Drew Stanton, who spent time with the Cardinals.
“It is a great feeling,” Landry said. “To have an opportunity to pass him in that category, it feels really good.”
Landry leads the Browns with 29 catches for 381 yards, and is tied for the lead with a receiving touchdown. He’s just below his career average of 6.2 catches a game, which helped him shatter the record for receptions in the first four years of a career with 400. He was second through two years with 194 and tied for first through three with 288.
“His hands are up there with any of the great ones that I have been around,” Haley said. “The tighter it is, usually, the greater stuff you are going to see from just great focus, great awareness, he is able to block out any potential hits from guys running at him. His focus is tremendous, and those 50-50 balls, I like our chances when they are going up to him.”
IT’S ALL GOOD, MAN
Haley put aside any hard feelings when he met rapper Snoop Dogg during practice Wednesday. In a profanity-laced Instagram video in August 2014, Snoop Dogg ripped Haley’s performance as coordinator of the Steelers, his favorite team, and implored coach Mike Tomlin to fire him.
“Snoop, I got to meet him. I got to make sure that he and I were all good,” said Haley, who joined the Browns this year after six in Pittsburgh. “We had a couple of rough years there. It got smoother over the last few and then him being out there and saying that he is a part of the Dawg Pound, we are good now. I can go back to listening to West Coast rap.”
Haley fell on his sword for the first-down play call on the winning drive Sunday against the Ravens in overtime. He called a reverse to backup receiver Rod Streater from Cleveland’s 16-yard line and it lost 11 yards.
“Dumb call. Dumb call,” Haley said. “When they don’t work, they are dumb, and that was a dumb call. I heard from (Hall of Fame coach Bill) Parcells immediately.”
The Browns recovered from second-and-21, as quarterback Baker Mayfield scrambled for 13 yards then hit rookie receiver Derrick Willies for a 39-yard catch-and-run. After three Duke Johnson runs, Greg Joseph kicked the winning 37-yard field goal.
The scrambling completion to Willies was another example why the Browns drafted Mayfield with the No. 1 pick, Haley said.
“He is very good in the pocket,” he said. “He is much more elusive than you would think he is if you just looked at measurements, time, speed and things like that, but he has a knack for feeling pressure, finding his way out of it. And at the same time, his eyes are down the field. That gives us big opportunities.
“It illustrates a lot of what gives him a chance to be a good player.”
Mayfield went 25-for-43 for 342 yards, a touchdown, an interception and an 81.7 rating against the second-ranked Ravens defense.
“I was encouraged,” Haley said. “Everything was not as perfect. There are areas he has to continue to improve, but he can make plays. Even with a lot of the negativity that was going on at different times for different reasons, I never felt like we did not have a chance to make a play.
“His attitude is tremendous. He is into the game on the sideline in between and during timeouts.”
Rookie running back Dontrell Hilliard, who was signed from the practice squad Tuesday, will assume a large role on special teams, including as a returner.
“He has the skill set that we like,” coach Hue Jackson said. “He is fast, elusive. He did a good job on coverage teams (in the preseason). He did a good job on receiving teams. We will give him a chance to go out there and demonstrate what he has.”
** Backup linebacker/special teamer Tanner Vallejo was added to the injury report with a concussion and didn’t practice.
** Receiver Rashard Higgins (knee) didn’t practice for the second straight day.
** For the Chargers, defensive end Joey Bosa (foot), receiver Travis Benjamin (foot), linebacker Jatavis Brown (groin) and linebacker Kyzir White (knee) missed practice again.