Landry Brothers Still Clashing After All These Years
As Competitive as They Are Close, NFL Players Gear Up for Preseason Game
Thursday, August 13, 2009
There was only one way to settle disagreements back then. Brothers Dawan and LaRon Landry, separated by just 21 months, were the most competitive kids in tiny Ama, La. -- though usually with each other.
They would start on a basketball court, at the park or in front of the Nintendo. Inevitably their shared competitive fire got the best of them, and Frank Landry knew of only one way to settle his sons' quarrels: two pairs of boxing gloves.
He first bought the gloves, branded with a Sugar Ray Leonard logo, when Dawan was 7 and LaRon 5 -- nearly two decades before either would embark on NFL careers. That's how they were used to settling sibling disputes until becoming teenagers.
"I was always bigger, so I was always the one beating him up. But that never stopped him," Dawan said of LaRon. "He was ready to go every day. And he'd never stop. He'd keep wanting to fight until mom or dad pulled us apart."
On Thursday night, the brothers will square off once again, this time standing on opposite sidelines at M&T Bank Stadium, where Dawan's Baltimore Ravens will open the preseason against LaRon's Washington Redskins. Both brothers play safety, and even though years have passed and their relationship has evolved into an extremely close one, they've both been looking forward to this game since the day it was announced.
"They just love going after each other. Always have," said Frank Landry, who plans to watch the game from the stands alongside his wife, Rhonda.
The Landry brothers have had few opportunities to play against each other as adults. When they were younger, though, they would go head-to-head as often as possible, and they actually started out on the same team. Frank Landry coached 7-year-old Dawan's pee wee football team in Ama, located on the banks of the Mississippi River and not far from New Orleans.
LaRon was only 5, too young to play. But he insisted, so his father ignored the rules, put LaRon in a uniform and snuck him onto the playing field.
"I remember the first day of practice, I lined him up against Dawan," Frank said. "I said, 'Boy, put your chin strap on and button up. This is real.' And when Dawan hit him, the helmet went one way, the boy went the other way. Dawan just knocked him out.
"I said, 'Are you all right, LaRon?' He said, 'Yeah, let's do it again.' "
The boys were teammates at Hahnville High, where Dawan was the star quarterback and LaRon was the defensive leader. The competitive fire was in their genes. Their father starred at the same high school and later played linebacker at Northeast Louisiana University (now known as University of Louisiana-Monroe). Their older brother played football at Vanderbilt.
Frank kept pushing and training his youngest two boys so they might have a chance at a college scholarship, too.