CLEVELAND (AP) — Every day at practice, Jarvis Landry looks around the field hoping to see Odell Beckham Jr. dancing, running pass routes or snagging passes with one hand.
No. 13’s nowhere to be found.
Landry’s best buddy and teammate won’t be back until sometime next year.
Beckham’s second season with the Cleveland Browns stopped suddenly after seven games because of a torn knee ligament that required surgery. And while Beckham’s loss pains him, Landry is using it as motivation.
He’s dedicated the rest of this season to OBJ.
“We have to just continue to play for each other, and play for him,” Landry said. “He is a part of this.”
Landry spoke after practice Thursday for the first time since Beckham tore his right anterior cruciate ligament while trying to make a tackle in the opening minutes of an Oct. 25 game at Cincinnati.
Beckham’s knee was surgically repaired in Florida by Dr. James Andrews earlier this week, and the Browns expect him to be back for the 2021 season.
That’s of little comfort or consolation to Landry, and it doesn’t make it any easier for him to accept.
The former LSU teammates had always dreamed of playing together in the NFL, and after a challenging first year together with the Browns, things had seemingly fallen into place only to be sabotaged by an event out of their control.
“You can’t put it into words,” Landry said. “I don’t really even know how to say anything because you hate to see somebody that works as hard as he works to go down the way that he went down. Now, he is kind of on this journey again.
“I think the best thing that any of us can do right now is just continue to support him, continue to give him positive messages and continue to be there for him throughout this process.”
Landry used Cleveland’s recent bye week to heal his body “and my spirits.”
The four-time Pro Bowler played Cleveland’s three games preceding the bye with a broken rib that at least partly contributed to him dropping several passes, including one in the end zone on a windy day that would have given the Browns a second-half lead in what became a 16-6 loss to Las Vegas.
Landry didn’t use the injury as an excuse, but admitted it’s been difficult to not play to his standards.
“I had opportunities to make plays, and that is what I want,” he said. “That is what we want as a team to be in those situations and make those type of plays, and I did not make them. I am very hard on myself. I took an evaluation of how I played games throughout this year and dropping passes and things like that.
“I am not content with ‘it comes with the game.’ I pride myself on being the guy that can make those catches all the time through any conditions, no matter the ball. If it is coming my way, it is a good ball. For me, that is something that I have definitely looked at myself in the mirror about throughout this bye week — and frankly every game.”
But although he was hurting, Landry wasn’t going to let the rib stop his consecutive games streak. The 27-year-old has played in 104 straight in six-plus seasons heading into Sunday’s matchup at home against the Houston Texans.
It’s a source of immense pride.
“No chance,” he said when asked if he came close to not playing. “No chance. I would not let that happen. It definitely was a battle for me, but that was part of the bye week, too, of being able to get my spirits in a better place and heal up and actually be able to come out here this week feeling a little bit better throughout my ribcage.”
There’s something else gnawing at Landry. He’s yet to catch a touchdown pass this season, and uncharacteristic drought for someone with 32 career TDs.
“It hurts my heart so bad, but I am still focused,” he said, smiling. “I am focused. I have to make those plays, and it will come. It will come.”
NOTES: RB Nick Chubb didn’t have a brace on his right knee as he practiced for the third time since returning from a sprain that sidelined him four games. Coach Kevin Stefanski said Chubb’s status for Sunday’s game should be known Friday. … DE Myles Garrett looks “good to go” after he injured his knee before the bye, Stefanski said. … Sunday’s weather forecast is messy — rain and wind. The Browns didn’t handle tough conditions as well as they would have liked against the Raiders. “It was good for us to get that under our belt,” Stefanski said. “Ultimately, you have to play a 60-minute game, regardless of the conditions, and I think the guys understand that.”
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