Tuesday, July 31, 2007

LaRon Landry’s debut as a paid member of the Washington Redskins was delayed one more day when the first-round draft pick’s flight from Louisiana was late arriving yesterday afternoon.

That delay prompted the safety to miss yesterday afternoon’s practice and a planned post-practice press conference as he and his agent, Joel Segal, met at a Northern Virginia hotel to review the five-year, $42 million deal they agreed to before midnight Sunday.

The contract includes $17 million in guaranteed money.

“I was kinda hoping we’d get it [done] the first day or so [of camp], but it got dragged out some,” said coach Joe Gibbs, relieved that the first holdout of his second Redskins tenure was history. “Hopefully, LaRon will be here for meetings in the morning to kind of get him briefed up and he’ll be able to practice in the afternoon. The fact that he was here for all the OTA days makes it a lot easier.”

Landry is a top athlete, but he’ll find the next few days under assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams anything but easy.

“When LaRon gets here, he has to catch up,” Williams said. “The biggest thing you miss is the physical part of it. Today was hump day for these guys … when you get through the soreness. These guys have been through it and were quicker and faster today because of repetitions and competitions. LaRon’s going to have catch up in that part of it. He’s going to be sore when everybody else is flying.”

Landry didn’t fly at all the last time he was at Redskin Park for minicamp June 15-17. The rookie had injured his groin the day before while playing paintball with some of his teammates.

“LaRon’s rare physically,” Williams said. “The big thing is he has to be smart. In college and high school, when you’re the best athlete you’re so gifted that you can play at half-speed or three-quarters speed and get the job done. You have to play full speed here. You watch out for a minor pull or sprain because he’s playing catch-up physically.”

Landry’s first physical test will be the dreaded up-downs, dropping to the ground and scrambling right back up 40 times in succession. Williams promised the tardy rookie would be receiving a second test, which he wouldn’t reveal.

“There are two tests that I’m excited about being able to administer,” a smiling Williams said.

Williams professed no concern that his newest prize pupil would struggle with the mental part of the game with or without help from fourth-year safety Sean Taylor, who’s not exactly the nurturing type.

“The mental part of the game is no problem for LaRon, and we have enough time in camp, [so] we’ll keep him sequestered, and he’ll get claustrophobic catching up that way,” Williams said. “LaRon doesn’t need a whole lot. He’s able to catch up and know what he’s supposed to be doing himself. He’s kind of had that role his whole life anyway. Sean and LaRon, when LaRon finally catches up and earns his right to get on the field with Sean, I think it will be a good tandem.”

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