Jarvis Landry wanted to get paid, like most people who work for a living. It turns out, money isn’t all that’s on Landry’s mind when it comes to his football career.
Landry got a big contract from the sad-sack Cleveland Browns after they acquired him in a trade, and it might have seemed like he was concerned about getting paid and not much about winning. The Browns went 0-16 last season and have been the worst franchise in the NFL. But Landry’s tirade in a meeting room on the first episode of “Hard Knocks” this season showed that Landry wants more than to just collect checks.
The HBO “Hard Knocks” season premiere was compelling. There was the sadness of Hue Jackson finding out his mom died, then him breaking down in tears at his desk later in the show. We found out the team truly does not know when receiver Josh Gordon will return from his leave of absence. Defensive end Carl Nassib offered an f-bomb fueled financial advice session for his teammates. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield did a hilariously terrible job singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
But one of the most intense and illuminating parts of the episode came when Landry spoke up from a dark receivers meeting room.
“Lemme say something real quick,” Landry said as he got up.
Jarvis Landry didn’t hold back
On the show, there was a montage of mistakes and a lack of intensity in practice. That can be creative editing, but Landry wasn’t happy with what he perceived as guys taking practices off when they weren’t truly injured.
It was a single shot from the camera in the corner of the room and (warning) the scene had a lot of swearing. But it showed a new player trying to be a leader on a team that went 1-31 the past couple years and needs dramatic steps to turn things around.
— Telbo (@telbreezy305) August 8, 2018
“Fellas, I don’t know what the f— been going on here, and I don’t know why it’s been going on here,” Landry told his fellow receivers. “But if you’re not hurt, if you’re hamstring isn’t falling off your f—ing bone, your leg isn’t broke, you should be f—ing practicing. Straight up. That s— is weakness and that s— is contagious as f—.”
The first episode of “Hard Knocks” offered plenty of reminders of the long road the Browns have to go down to be competitive again, and Landry understood that the culture needs a dramatic change as he continued his rant.
“That s— ain’t gonna be in this room bro,” Landry said, his voice rising. “That s— been here in the past and that’s why the past has been like it is. That s— is over with here, bro. If you can f—ing practice, f—ing practice. Ain’t nobody going to get better by being on the sideline if you ain’t f—ing hurt. If you’re not f—ing hurt, you’ve got to f—ing practice. Because you make other motherf—–s work even f—ing harder, now they’re at more f—ing risk of getting hurt because you didn’t want to fi—ng practice , because you’re being a b—-.”
It was profane, but that’s the language of the NFL behind closed doors. It will probably also change the perception of Landry to fans who haven’t seen this side of him.
“That s— ain’t happening here. I’m just letting everyone know,” Landry continued. “That s— is not f—ing happening here. I’m tired, I’m hurt like everyone else in this motherf—–. But I ain’t taking no motherf—ing days off, because I can’t be f—ing great that way. That has to be the f—ing attitude and the mentality all the f—ing time. All that weak s— don’t f—ing live here no more. That s— don’t exist. It’s contagious, bro. Like, it’s really f—ing contagious. It’s contagious.”
Landry’s speech wasn’t his typical nature, he said
Landry told the HBO crew that the speech wasn’t normal for him.
“I’m not really much of a talker,” Landry said. “When I talk it takes a lot before it comes out. But at the same time, I try to talk with the best interest of the team, not just myself. Pushing guys, holding the guys accountable, and leading by example.”
It’s going to take a lot to turn the Browns around. It might take a few veterans like Landry to shake things up, to get the Browns out of their losing mentality. His passionate speech is a good thing for Cleveland.
“Wanna win,” Landry, who landed a five-year, $75.5 million deal this offseason, told the HBO cameras later. “That’s it.”
Todd Haley, Hue Jackson disagreed about giving players time off
There was a different look at the issue Landry was talking about later in the episode. Jackson talked to his coaches about giving certain players days off here and there as a preventative measure. Jackson said he didn’t want to lose any players for weeks with a training camp injury.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley voiced his opposition.
“Our team has to get mentally tougher and be able to fight through the s— we have to fight through,” Haley said in the meeting. “We’ve got to change this drastically and if we’ve got guys that haven’t done s— sitting around doing nothing, I just don’t know how we’re going to do it.”
Jackson explained that as a head coach he had to keep the big picture in mind, and while Haley still clearly didn’t agree, that was that.
‘Hard Knocks’ should be in for a fun season
The Browns are an interesting team. They’re not good, but they’re not boring either. There is a lot of talent on the roster. There’s also the never-ending losing that has infected the Browns. They’re the punch line of the NFL after the constant losing. They all know that.
This season of “Hard Knocks” has some interesting characters and the first episode was full of memorable moments. Landry’s speech to his receiver teammates was one. Like everyone else, he knew the Browns’ recent history when he came to Cleveland, and he seems intent on changing it.
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• Chris Mannix: With LeBron gone, Celtics and Brad Stevens ready to seize the East
• Giancarlo Stanton suffers his most embarrasing strikeout of MLB career
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