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Browns Preview 2021: Injuries, pandemic hindered Jarvis Landry, but he’s feeling great now

A surgically repaired hip that wasn’t back to normal. Painful broken ribs that restricted movement and hindered performance. A missed game due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocols that ended the revered streak of 110 to start his career.

Receiver Jarvis Landry caught 72 passes for 840 yards and three touchdowns and realized his goal of leading the Browns to the playoffs in his third year with the team, but 2020 was his toughest in seven NFL seasons.

“Yeah, for sure,” he said at the start of training camp. “It was challenging and it was a lot of things going on in my head that I might have not showed on the field or in this environment.

“But I had the right people around me. Everybody in the training room was supportive … whether it was watching my practicing or making sure I was getting the things that I needed in the training room, but it still was tough because I knew I wasn’t where I needed to be (physically). I wanted to be there for the guys. It was important that I kept not missing a game.”

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The only absence was in Week 16 for the 23-16 loss to the Jets when contact tracing left the Browns without their top four wideouts. Landry suffered the broken ribs in Week 5 against the Colts on a huge hit but continued to will himself onto the field and into the huddle.

That’s what he does.

“Early in the week, he had his old man Jarvis walk going on,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “He is a tough guy who wants to put the team first always, so he was laying it on the line each week. That is why we appreciate Jarvis so much around here.”

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Pass game coordinator/receivers coach Chad O’Shea had an up-close view as Landry dealt with the adversity.

“He was outstanding in his mental toughness,” O’Shea said. “We always talk about it’s easy when things are going well, but the truest measure of somebody and a player is when things aren’t going as well. And certainly he was dealing with some issues, whether it was the injury, learning the new offense here, which at times were challenges for him, but what’s the most positive thing is he showed that mental toughness to fight through it.

“That’s who he is, he’s a tough guy. He comes out here and I really believe he checks his ego at the door every day and does what’s best for the team.”

Landry playing through pain is nothing new. The famous “contagious” speech shown on “Hard Knocks” during the 2018 preseason was one of the milestones in the organization’s culture change, as Landry made it clear he wouldn’t put up with players who weren’t chasing greatness with all their being.

“He competes and he wants to win,” left guard Joel Bitonio said. “You look at some of the best players just have that unparalleled competitiveness. That’s something you appreciate.

“You see this guy playing through it, then you’ve got to go out there and play when you’re a little bit banged up. It’s pretty impressive.”

The return from extensive hip surgery in February 2020 wasn’t going to stop Landry from being on the field at the start of the season. It did prevent him from having a normal offseason in which he could concentrate on strengthening his body and skills.

He was coming off a 2019 season in which the hip kept him from practicing much. He still played 94 percent of the snaps, caught 83 passes for 1,174 yards and six touchdowns and made his fifth straight Pro Bowl.

After the surgery, Landry’s complete focus was rehabbing the hip. He missed the strength training and speed work of a typical offseason and hated not being able to pick a part of his game to improve.

So not only was he still coming back from the surgery when last season started, he felt behind because of how he spent the offseason.

With the hip issues out of the way, he accomplished what he wanted before returning for this season.

“It was really important to me this offseason to really hone in on the things that I’ve been kind of collecting about myself and learning about myself throughout the years of being a professional. I think each year I’ve added a little bit more to my routine, to my offseason,” he said. “So now I’ve had an opportunity to do that this year and pay more attention and be more detailed with that and that’s helped me greatly.”

He lost weight and gained speed.

“He looks extremely explosive,” Mayfield said. “Mentally and physically, he looks great. You can tell just the pep in his step right now.”

“I am really impressed with how Jarvis looks,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “Physically, he is in great shape. He really worked very hard this offseason, and he is ready to roll.

“He is a consummate professional. Thrilled that he is in that meeting room with some young guys and they can kind of see how a pro does it. He is in a good place.”

Landry wasn’t prepared for the mental toll of the surgery and rehab. Getting back to training this offseason did wonders for his state of mind.

“It’s given me a lot more motivation. It’s given me a lot more just love back for the game,” he said.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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