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Winding football road leads best friends Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry back together in Cleveland

Odell Beckham Jr.'s seat next to new teammate Jarvis Landry during Monday's press conference in Berea was no accident.

They're New Orleans area natives. They attended high school less than 50 miles from each other. And they also happen to be best friends.

The two have been pals since they were freshmen in high school when they met at a seven-on-seven tournament in Alabama. They eventually followed similar paths, with Landry starring at Lutcher High School and Beckham doing the same at Isidore Newman High School.

They were both top-10 receiving prospects in the country. They both played in postseason all-star games, with Beckham appearing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Landry opting for the Under Armour All-America Game.

Landry, in fact, set a record for the game with eight receptions, racking up 70 yards and a touchdown. It was a capper to Landry's illustrious high school career, which earned him the No. 1 spot among all receivers in the country for his 2011 class, according to (He was No. 4 in rankings published by and

Beckham, meanwhile, made his own mark at Newman, joining Cooper Manning as the only players in school history to break the 1,000-yard receiving mark in a season (to go along with 19 touchdowns). He also rushed for 331 yards and six scores and ended up earning the No. 6 receiver ranking from 

(In keeping with this tale of parallels, both also saw their high school careers end on the same night in playoff losses.)

LSU landed both stars in its 2011 class. It was just the beginning for both of them.

Beckham made an instant impact, starting nine games as a freshman and catching 41 passes for 475 yards and two touchdowns. His first season in Baton Rouge set a benchmark upon which he improved in each of his next two campaigns, starting with nearly 250 more receiving yards on just two more catches in 2012.

Landry's start wasn't as fast -- four catches for 43 yards in 2011 -- but he caught up quickly in 2012, finishing with 56 catches for 573 yards and five scores. The dynamic receiving duo was officially alive.

Then came 2013, when each hit their individual peaks as Tigers. Beckham caught 59 passes for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns. Landry caught 77 passes for 1,193 yards and 10 touchdowns. Both made incredible grabs along the way, attracting internet attention -- especially for Beckham's one-handed catches of kickoffs.

Beckham and Landry became the first receiving duo in LSU history to each exceed 1,000 yards in a season. They also formed one half of a four-man duo (including quarterback Zach Mettenberger and running back Jeremy Hill) that became the first in SEC history to have a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season.

Beckham set the all-purpose yardage record at LSU with 2,315 in 2013. He won the 2013 Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile player and was a first-team All-American.

Landry finished fourth in LSU history in single-season receptions.

The decorated recruiting profiles of Landry and Beckham came to fruition in a big way, and also ensured their time in Baton Rouge was over. The NFL would soon come calling.

Beckham went first in the 2014 NFL Draft, 12th overall to the New York Giants. Landry learned his fate a round later, selected 63rd by the Miami Dolphins.

Predictably, stardom followed. Landry was eventually franchise tagged by the Dolphins in 2018 and traded to the Browns. A year later, Beckham was also dealt to the Browns.

After five seasons apart, they're back together.

"If I wanted to be anywhere else [other than with the New York Giants], it would be playing alongside of my brother," Beckham said of Landry during Monday's press conference. "Like I said, since the day we met, we talked about, 'Hey, I am going to the same school as you. Where we going?' He had different offers. I did not have all of the same offers that he had, but it was like, 'Where are you going? I am going there.' I tell him all of the time, he made me who I am today. He has taken me to the level of this greatness, this legendary stuff that we talked about. It is because of him. There is no better place for me to be but here."

Looking back at how they arrived at LSU, and how they spoke Monday of spending their minimal free time together in college working on improving as receivers, Beckham's response makes sense. After all, it was Landry who was the higher-rated prospect. When put together, they only became better.

But for Landry, it's more than just football.

"I know for me, it is something that not only as a player but as a person that he is somebody that my life needs," Landry said of Beckham. "It is more than an honor to take the field with him again."

The energy in the building Monday was palpable. It felt like a momentous occasion. And even then, Beckham felt as if everyone was downplaying its importance.

He's back with his best friend. The sky is the limit.

"We come here, you ask questions and we answer them, but I think this moment is going to be more iconic than we all realize right now," Beckham said. "That is obviously what we want to be a part of. We want to look back in 10 years and be like, 'Man, I remember April 1, 2019. That was the start of something great.' I'm just happy to be a part of it."