Jarvis Landry collected his latest NFL record with 11 games to spare.
Now, it’s on to bigger and better aspirations both as an individual and a key leader on a young Browns roster that has seen its collective confidence rise after picking up two wins in the past three weeks.
“It was clicking since the day I put on pads at 12 years old,” Landry said Thursday in the Browns’ locker room. “I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to wait until you get into something to decide you want to be great at it. I decided a long time ago.”
Landry, who leads the Browns with 29 receptions and 381 yards, notched his 427th career reception in Sunday’s third quarter, giving him the most for a player in his first five NFL seasons. He passed his idol, Larry Fitzgerald, to achieve the mark, which stands at 429 and counting as the Browns prepare for Sunday’s showdown with the Chargers.
Landry said he became a fan of Fitzgerald when he starred in college at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2003, when Landry was just 11 years old, Fitzgerald finished second in Heisman Trophy voting after compiling 92 catches for 1,672 yards and a whopping 22 touchdowns.
When Landry went through the pre-draft process, he felt a kinship with Fitzgerald, who was similarly criticized for a lack of straight-line speed. Landry’s draft stock fell because of it, and he’s used it as motivation ever since.
“He was just one of those guys who I saw that was just a technician,” Landry said. “He loved running routes, whether it was outside or inside. I just kind of looked up to him.
“It is a great feeling. Larry, being an idol of mine, I hear stories from (offensive coordinator Todd) Haley all of the time. I talk to Drew (Stanton) about him, as well. To have an opportunity to pass him in that category, it feels really good.”
Landry made it clear, though, that the personal accolades take a backseat to his bigger goals as a recently extended member of the Browns. From the day he arrived in Cleveland, Landry established himself as a vocal leader in a wide receivers room that skews as young as any position group on the roster. That vocality goes beyond his position group, too.
Asked if this Browns team, at 2-2-1, had “arrived,” Landry abruptly shut it down. He’d go without a catch for weeks if the team was still winning.
“It wasn’t one of my primary focuses. I really didn’t know I was close until someone told me that week,” Landry said. “For me, I’ve got a lot of football yet and I want to win games. Obviously if we can get the stats up and do that as well, I want that, but I want to win games. That’s really the big thing for me.”
Defenses haven’t made it easy on Landry in recent weeks, but he’s continued to be one of the most consistent playmakers in the NFL. His 20-game streak of compiling at least five receptions ended Week 4 but he started a new one against the Ravens, amassing five receptions for a team-high 69 yards. He’s the league’s active leader with 68 straight games of at least two catches, a streak that dates back to the second game of his NFL career.
Landry has played with a number of different quarterbacks during that stretch, the latest being Baker Mayfield. His consistency has shown it hasn’t mattered, but Landry could be in position to shatter even more records with the talented rookie set to be under center for a good long while.
“Jarvis is a very smart guy that understands coverage, double coverage and brackets, things of that sort,” Haley said. “He is a competitive guy that wants to go out and win.
“He is generally one of those guys that is always open.”