On March 9, 2018, the phones of NFL fans buzzed repeatedly.
It was breaking news from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The laughing stock of the NFL, the Cleveland Browns, acquired Pro-Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry from the Miami Dolphins for two draft picks.
The Browns only traded a fourth-round pick and a seventh-rounder.
The Browns have also traded for Tyrod Taylor and Damarious Randall.
In an exciting day for the Browns, the soft-spoken Taylor and the defensive back Randall didn’t pack the same punch as Landry.
Landry was cool. He was fun. He played with a competitive edge. He wanted to be in Cleveland.
The speculation surrounding Landry immediately ensued league-wide. Fans criticized the 5-foot-11 receiver for being too small and not being a true No. 1 option. Not to mention, the Browns paid heavily for him. A whopping five-year extension worth $75.5 million is what it took for Landry to land with the Browns longterm.
After the trade, Landry said he felt as if the Dolphins sent him to Cleveland “to die” and was as motivated as ever.
Landry made his first appearance in Cleveland a thunderous one on the first episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks featuring the Browns. The receiver stood up in a meeting room of Browns players and emotionally spoke his mind. He desperately wanted things to turn around the Cleveland Browns.
“All that weak [expletive] don’t live here no more,” Landry exclaimed to the room. “That [expletive] don’t exist!”
In his first two games with Cleveland, versus Pittsburgh and at New Orleans, Landry totaled 175 yards receiving but didn’t find the end zone. It’s easy to forget about those 175 yards because they didn’t matter, as the Browns weren’t victorious in either of those games.
Without explanation, the Jets game was something special. It was a 60-minute rollercoaster ride that no Browns fan will ever forget. Landry played a critical role both during and after that game.
When Baker Mayfield checked into the game, his first pass was a completion to Landry. The weight was lifted off the shoulders of Browns fans. You could feel the energy shift inside of First Energy Stadium. The rookie quarterback having an instant connection with the new Pro-Bowl receiver was a sign of what was to come.
Landry finished the game against the Jets with 103 yards receiving. He also pulled off a trick play pass to Mayfield, recording his first-ever passing score. More importantly than all of this, he pulled off a win for the Cleveland Browns.
But it was something after the game that really stood out. A quote Landry gave about his new quarterback.
“Never doubt six,” Landry said repeatedly, shaking his head. “I don’t think there’s a coach or a player in this building that has doubted him. That’s why he was the first pick. That’s why he was the Heisman Trophy winner. We saw it tonight.”
Six is the number sported by Mayfield, the then-rookie quarterback who had only played two full quarters of football with Landry. For Landry to call Mayfield “six,” a nickname, after just two quarters? That was something special. It showed the instant respect and trust the pair had.
Landry sold Cleveland on Mayfield after just one game. This was just the beginning of something special.
Mayfield and Landry energized the Browns offense for the remainder of the season, especially under Freddie Kitchens. For the first time in years, the Browns found themselves “in the hunt” for an AFC Wild Card spot. Despite their efforts, the Browns finished 7-8-1 and finished short of the playoffs just one year after 0-16.
March 12, 2019.
It was just one year and three days after the anniversary of the Browns trading for Landry. Another buzz. Another NFL trade.
The Cleveland Browns have traded for Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham, a three-time Pro-Bowler and top-three wide receiver in the league was headed to Cleveland, the same place where his childhood best friend and college roommate, Landry, played.
Landry was working behind the scenes with Browns front office staffers, poking and jabbing at them to trade for his best friend. On March 12, it finally happened, changing the direction of the Browns franchise immediately.
The former roommates cried together on FaceTime shortly after the trade was finalized.
“Come be a Dawg,” Landry said to Beckham on the phone. “Dawgs Gotta Eat.”
Landry’s recruiting and motivating efforts haven’t halted, either. Newly acquired wide receiver Taywan Taylor called the Browns “a dream come true” and was instantly welcomed with a phone call from Landry.
While his production on the field might have been less than what Browns fans had anticipated, Landry is one of the unsung vocal leaders of this team. He made the Browns relevant again, both on and off the field.
For that, Browns fans will forever be thankful. Go eat, Jarvis.