LaRon Landry is a physical specimen of a man. A real life monster. A Hulk, if you will.
However, it's becoming increasingly concerning that Landry is more interesting in Building The Monster!!! that is himself rather than building the (Colts) monster.
It's clear Landry has an excellent work ethic in the weight room. No one in their right mind would dispute that, but the fact Landry didn't participate in OTAs again this year confounds to me. He trains on his own and tweets out "selfies" of him in a weight room. However, in a year where the Colts desperately need a leader in the secondary after the departure of longtime starter Antoine Bethea, Landry, one of the most experienced safeties on the roster, is no where to be found.
People will say that he was at OTAs this year but had a soft tissue injury, which is fine if anyone actually believed it were true. But, why was he the only veteran that took their physical a day later? Why didn't he show up with the team? Why hasn't he shown any interest in taking young safeties under his wing and teaching them like Bethea did in the past, or like Robert Mathis is doing with the rush linebackers now? It's not as if Landry hasn't seen the way it should be done, he just seemingly has no interest in being a "team player" at this stage in his career.
When I first heard he had a soft tissue injury, I immediately wanted to ask if it was his heart because even though he plays with passion, he doesn't seem to care to be a part of this Colts roster. Then I felt that questioning any pro athletes heart isn't the best idea. So, I wondered if it was his head. Because any player with half a brain would know that at least showing up and going through the motions is better than not showing up at all or showing up with an undisclosed "injury."
Finally, reports came out that is was a lower body soft tissue injury. So, all my ideas on what the injury could have been were shot.
All my venting aside, LaRon Landry is beginning to remind me a lot of Albert Haynesworth in terms of a guy who signs a much bigger contract than he should have received. There are some very distinct differences though between the two players. Namely, Landry has yet to show up out of shape, like Haynesworth did. But, I digress.
Comparing the two players prior to signing their mega contracts, each had a huge year the season before signing their big deals with both players being named to the Pro Bowl. However, prior to that season, Haynesworth was far more consistent than Landry. Haynesworth was a Pro Bowl player in 2007 and 2008 with his production staying fairly high. Landry was a Pro Bowl selection in 2012 and was an alternate two other years. Landry's production fluctuated, though most would account this to injuries, there were still times Landry played similar number of games in a season and his production varied wildly.
Speaking of injuries, Haynesworth didn't have the injury concerns that Landry did. Landry, in three of the last four years, didn't play in more than 75% of his team's games, with two seasons playing in about 50% of the games. Haynesworth on the other hand, played in double digit games every year until after signing his huge contract with Washington. It's tough to justify paying out one of the highest contracts at a position to a player that isn't on the field.
Further, when Haynesworth was on the field, teams had to account for him. He had such a bigger impact on a team. Similar to how teams game-planned for former Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, teams had to game plan for Haynesworth. No team game plans or specifically mentions that they need to know where Landry is at all times, which is especially telling for a player who was paid as one of the best at the position.
It should be noted that Landry didn't have the same character concerns as Haynesworth, especially after Haynesworth was suspended for stomping on Cowboys center Andre Gurode's head in 2006, as well as other incidents.
Fast forward to the season after the big contract years:
- Haynesworth played in 12 games in 2009. Landry player in 12 games in 2013.
- Haynesworth's production slipped, but was still fairly consistent to past years. Landry's production slipped but was still fairly consistent to past years.
- Haynesworth refused to participate in team off season workouts after joining Washington. Landry has refused to participate in team off season workouts after joining the Colts.
- Haynesworth forced three fumbles the year before he signed his contract, but had none after. Landry had four forced fumbles and two interceptions the year before he signed his contract, but had none after.
While I don't anticipate Landry showing up to training camp out of shape, if his "soft tissue injury" lingers, Colts fans should be concerned. There are some startling similarities between the two players that don't bode well for Ryan Grigson and the Colts if the similarities hold true. I obviously hope Landry turns it around to return to his Pro Bowl form, but I find it hard for any player to assimilate into a team and become a leader when he simply doesn't show up to help Build The Monster. Do I really think Landry will flame out like Haynesworth did? Not really. Would I be surprised if he did? Not really.