The NFL’s offseason spans six months.
For Washington Redskins safety LaRon Landry, his offseason has lasted for over a year as he continues to battle back from his Achilles’ injury. On March 13, Landry will be a prized free agent. The Redskins have until then to re-sign the hard-hitting safety before other teams around the NFL pursue him.
It appears the Redskins have drawn their line in the sand about re-signing Landry because he opted out of the surgery they wanted him to obtain.
According to Landry, the Redskins are not telling the full story, as the five-year veteran speaks out what is best for him so he can be an effective Redskin throughout his bright NFL career.
“I went on the IR way before the season ended and I’ve been doing my duties to heal, instead of going on the IR and sit on my (expletive),” said Landry, via phone conversation.
“My offseason started a year and a half ago. Since I had my Achilles injury, I never stop grinding…I’m totally dedicated in getting back, getting what I deserve out of the game, win ball games and being one of the elite guys on our team. So, I’m still grinding and I’m back in Arizona trying to heal up.”
After sustaining multiple injuries, including his Achilles, Landry missed 17 games over the past two NFL seasons. What a huge jump from a player who never missed a game in his football playing career from high school to the last game of the 2009 season (his third season in the NFL) when the Redskins lost to the San Diego Chargers in Week 17, 23-20.
Landry is preparing for the 2012 NFL season and according to the 27-year-old safety, he will be healed and ready to go in March, hoping to be with the team and play under (former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach) new Redskins defensive backs coach Rakeem Morris.
“I’m happy he’s here, I’m looking forward in meeting him and hope to play with him,” said Landry. “Hopefully, if everything comes around and get worked out the way it suppose to work out, despite having surgeries and everything. Hopefully, the team isn’t thinking otherwise and we can talk about next. Other than that, I can’t wait to meet him.”
Landry understands the business of the NFL, and is prepared for whatever happens.
Clearly, Landry’s heart is with the burgundy and gold. However, Landry is frustrated with how the Redskins are handling his situation with his Achilles injury and now, he is speaking out about what he is doing with his chosen surgical procedure to better himself for the team.
“My Achilles started hurting and it did not come out the way I wanted to be so I could put forth the effort I needed to help my team,” said Landry. “I didn’t want to go out there 50 percent and not be LaRon Landry or be 60 percent and not perform at strong safety the way I know how to play. To talk about last year’s injury with the Achilles, it’s in a different area. It’s lower to heel bone of the Achilles.
“When they (the Redskins) said I opt out and when people said I opt out of the surgery for the past two years in a row, that’s not the case, it’s totally fabricated,” he added, while being upset. “The surgery that was offered last year, I’ve done through the team. After the shockwave, with Dr. (Robert) Anderson in North Carolina, I came to Arizona to do more PRP’s (Platelet-Rich Plasma) because the shockwave helped, but it didn’t cure it and it didn’t heal. That was the surgery offered to me by the team, by the team’s doctors and Dr. Anderson (a well-respected foot and ankle specialist).
“This year, I went back to the same doctor in Anderson and he instructed the best thing for me was to get open up and fully cut my Achilles and that’s a tough surgery as it takes a year and a half to heal,” he continued.
“So I went to get a second and a third opinion and everyone I’ve talked to, and not to criticize Dr. Anderson, but they said, ‘why would you want to operate on that Achilles’ when there are other options to healing?’ So that’s where the hick-up comes in with the team. I told them I wanted to try the other procedure and it’s better than the PRP and the procedure would allow my body and heel to strengthen, along with my bone structure and tendons, instead of cutting and taking away those things. It would heal on its own, so why not grant me the opportunity to do this procedure before going through a major surgery?”
The procedure is a stem cell treatment called Biological Matrix, which allows the natural body to develop tissues through a healing process as the procedure repairs, reinforce and regenerate through medicine.
After not having surgery on his shoulder, which is completely healed, last year, Landry feels his body will respond well to the treatment.
“They (the Redskins) wanted me to have shoulder surgery through a specialist, but went for a second and a third opinion because I have a strong team, a great team and they said we can do the PRP on the shoulder or we can operate on your shoulder,” said Landry. “What happened when I did the PRP? It healed. I didn’t have an operation on my shoulder and it showed me that my body can relate to these treatments and it can work.
“Give me that opportunity, instead of cutting me open to keep me out for a year and a half, risking me to lose strength and my range of motion…I would not be the same player. Why have a surgical procedure of shaving bones down, cleaning and taking tendons, when I can have another procedure, which is not as bad. This is what I’m going through with the team.”
Since, Landry is not satisfying the team’s wishes for their choice of surgery, the Louisiana native has to pay for his procedure. Landry is fine with that as he willing to do whatever it takes to get back on the field with his teammates, hopefully in Washington.
“They (the Redskins) opt out of paying for the procedure, so I have to do this to heal my body and if they are looking out for my best interest, why do they want me to be cut open when there’s a better option? So, whatever the team is putting out there into the public, it’s my fault as I was behind the eight ball and I should have been talking,” said Landry.
Landry was also under the gun with the media last season saying he looked like a linebacker, as he bulked up for the 2011 season.
He was not bothered by the criticism, and he explained why the sudden change.
“I started at strong safety, then through tragedy (the death of Sean Taylor), I switched to free safety,” said Landry. “When the team signed O.J. (Atogwe), I went back to strong, so I going to put on weight. I’m not buying into that looking like a linebacker.”
One thing has surely not changed for Landry: his desire to remain with the Redskins.
After having the exit physical, the Redskins knew what procedure Landry was taking and according to team’s prize safety, team doctor, Dr. Andrew, understood the procedure and was for it, as he can rehab between treatments.
When Landry returns to Washington before free agency begins, the pressure may be on the Redskins to sign him because he is willing do what it takes to be ready.
“I love what I do and I’m willing to do what’s best for me to get back on the field to be the best for my teammates and myself,” said Landry.