- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- LaRon Landry and his brother Dawan are like opposite sides of a coin. They are matching safeties who will play for the first time in a regular-season NFL game when LaRon, a Jet, heads to Jacksonville to play Dawan's team.
"Growing up, we always had a competitive streak," LaRon said. "Always fighting, we both hate to lose. I've always been the daredevil, the edgy type. He was always the grounded one."
Dawan, the older one, was the one who was always in the gym. He was quiet and serious while LaRon skated by on talent alone. Dawan tried to get LaRon to take things more seriously.
"Every time we'd work out together he'd try to kill me," LaRon said. "And I used to hate it. The bench press? He put weight on that knowing I can't hit it. I try to lift it then when I start struggling to rack it, he'd push it back down on me. I used to hate it.”
Eventually, his talent alone couldn't save LaRon from the quad strains and hip flexor injuries that started to derail him in high school, after Dawan was out of the house. That's when LaRon took up a weight routine that he has kept up despite the heel and foot injury that threatened his career a year ago.
Now that they are in their late 20s, LaRon gets where Dawan was coming from.
"He just wanted me to work hard because I never really wanted to work on anything," LaRon said.
Both safeties are having strong seasons. Dawan has a career-high 137 tackles for the Jaguars. LaRon is the Jets second leading tackler on the team with 92 this season. Dawan said he imagines if it would work if the two played on the same team.
"It probably would, you know it'd be a lot of communicating," Dawan said. "Knowing me and him it'd be a lot fussing and fighting going on you know we're always disagreeing on things."
Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine coached both players.
"(LaRon is) very unique," Pettine said. "We had his brother in Baltimore, Dawan, obviously we're going against him this week, who is the exact opposite. Exact opposite. He was very quiet, never said a word. You'd never know he was in the meeting half the time. Whereas, you know LaRon's in the meeting, I'll put it that way."
LaRon tailors his own workout shirts so that they have fringe at the bottom, and he has a pet monkey named Gucci.
It may be too late to cite him, but LaRon said he had a fake ID when he was four so that he could play linebacker in a pee-wee football league for kids ages 5 to 7. Asked for proof, LaRon responded, "I've got VHS tape, I can bring it in."
At any rate, LaRon knows he won't face his brother on defense, so he is hoping that they can match up on special teams.