By Tom Withers
The Associated Press
For the first time in his NFL career, Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry will miss a game with injury.
And not one.
Landry was placed on the injured list on September 21 with a sprained ligaments in his knee, meaning he must be absent for at least three games before he can be activated. At this point, it’s unclear when the five-time Pro Bowler will be back.
A model of consistency and durability as a pro, Landry injured himself after catching a short pass and picking up 9 yards in the second play of the scrum in the 31-21 Sept. 19 win over the Texans.
On September 20, coach Kevin Stefanski said Landry was “week to week” and it was still not clear if Landry would go to IR.
Landry, 28, will now be out of games against Chicago, Minnesota and Chargers before he can return, and he may be out for longer depending on the severity of his medial collateral ligament sprain.
Landry had never missed a game for any reason in eight years before being forced to sit one in 2020 due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocols.
As a result of the injury, Landry’s two-or more assists streak ended in 111 straight games – the fourth longest streak in history. Landry has six receptions for 80 yards and two rushes for 13 yards and a touchdown in 2021.
In four seasons with Cleveland, Landry has 242 catches for 3,070 yards and 13 touchdowns. Landry caught at least 84 assists – with a career-high 112 in 2017 in his first four seasons with Miami, which drafted him in the second round in 2014.
Landry is one of Cleveland’s team managers, and his absence will be felt on and off the field.
“You never want to lose a player of Jarvis’ caliber, but even more the leadership he brings,” said quarterback Baker Mayfield on Sunday. “When things aren’t going well, what he can say to guys is just another voice we have to lean on.”
While Landry is unavailable, the Browns could pick up star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. this week when they host the Chicago Bears. Beckham has not played since injuring his knee on October 25 and undergoing end-of-season surgery.
Beckham has been inactive for Cleveland’s first two games, but there are signs that he will make his debut in the season this week.
Stefanski said no decision has been made regarding Beckham’s availability and that his return will not be linked to Landry’s status.
Whether Beckham can play or not, the Browns will have to rely on young receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones and rookie Anthony Schwartz. Rashard Higgins, who has been a safety cover for Mayfield for the past two seasons, could also have an expanded role.