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Still Going at It: Landry Brothers Eager to Clash Again, Even in Preseason
"I did everything on God-given talent. I hated working out," LaRon said. "But not Dawan. He always worked so hard."
The training paid off. Dawan starred at Georgia Tech, switching from quarterback to safety. The Ravens drafted him in the fifth round of the 2006 draft, and he eventually won a starting job alongside perennial Pro Bowl pick Ed Reed.
When Dawan left home for school, LaRon said the two grew closer, their competitive streaks replaced by mutual respect. After a successful career at LSU that included first-team all-American honors as a senior, LaRon was the sixth overall pick of the 2007 draft.
He signed a five-year, $41.5 million contract -- a bit more than Dawan's three-year, $1.2 million rookie deal -- but the family was most excited about the geography. The brothers would get a chance to play professionally just an hour apart. LaRon's impact on the Redskins was immediate. As a rookie, he played alongside Sean Taylor and enters the third year of his NFL career having started all 32 games since he was drafted.
After failing to force a turnover as a rookie, Landry had two interceptions and two forced fumbles last year. The team is looking for more production this season.
"Last year he missed training camp, and it hurt him early in the season," said Greg Blache, the Redskins' defensive coordinator. "If you look at the second half of LaRon's season, LaRon was one of the best safeties in the NFL -- if not the best -- with his picks, with his hits and the big plays he was making for us. Being healthy right now, if we can keep him healthy, he is going to have the opportunity to play that way the entire season."
"I think he will finally get his just due and the recognition and go to the Pro Bowl because he is that caliber of a football player."
This season should be noticeably different for Dawan, as well. In Week 3 last year, the Ravens were playing the Cleveland Browns. While trying to tackle running back Jamal Lewis, Dawan's neck bent backward. When the official's whistle blew the play dead, Dawan was motionless on the field, with no sensation in his fingers and toes. He was taken by ambulance to a Baltimore hospital.
Not far away, LaRon was driving home from FedEx Field when his phone started lighting up with text messages and voicemails. He pulled off the road, heard the news and sped his way north to Baltimore.
By the time he arrived, Dawan could feel his fingers, but his long-term prognosis was up in the air.
"I just remember getting out of X-rays, and LaRon was right there," Dawan said. "I was so glad to see him."
LaRon stared at his brother but wasn't certain what exactly he was looking at. LaRon was the wild one, prone to injuries and always taking risky chances. "Not Dawan. He was invincible," LaRon said.