Jets safety LaRon Landry has been doing plenty of talking lately. And the league can’t be thrilled with most of what he is saying.
“If I get penalized, I’m not going to stop hitting or head hunting,” Landry said earlier this week. “I’m not going to stop the way I play.”
Landry also has no regard for his own well being. He tells Mike Garafolo of USA Today that, before each game, Landry writes the words “Suicide Mission” on his body.
“[R]ight on my chest,” Landry said. “Right over my tatts. In black Sharpie.”
Landry now says it wasn’t “smart” of him to use the “head hunting” term. It’s probably also not smart to view playing football as a “Suicide Mission.”
But Landry is smart about the league’s sensitivity to certain types of injuries.
“They have a lot of concussions out there,” Landry said. “You don’t want to be a vegetable. The league is trying to protect you for longevity. Players have families and people who care about them. It’s understood. I don’t understand when it comes across that I’m trying to injure guys, trying to blow their knees out and do this or that. Man, that’s a legal hit. Don’t blame me. I’m playing within the NFL’s system. So my whole mindset is not to end your career because I know how it feels to be out.”
It’s a delicate balance for players who want to be aggressive but who also don’t want to be viewed as dirty. The best way to address the disconnect would be for the league to make things that are dirty (e.g., hits to the knees) also illegal.