CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry has earned multiple trips to the Pro Bowl during his six years in the National Football League, but perhaps, the most meaningful accolade came Thursday not for what he does on the field, but instead, how he tries to lift up others in the community.
Landry was named the Browns’ winner of the 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Each of the NFL’s 32 teams named a Man of the Year winner, and the recipient of the league-wide award will be announced at the NFL Honors awards show the night before the Super Bowl.
“It’s amazing. It’s amazing,” Landry said of the honor after Thursday’s practice at team headquarters in Berea. “It’s a great feeling. I spoke earlier and just thinking about it and thinking about my career, it’s by far one of the biggest, best things I could be up for with the opportunity to win.”
Landry earned the honor for his efforts in the community, both in Cleveland and his home state of Louisiana, particularly for his fight in Cystic Fibrosis.
Landry knows what it is like to lose a loved one to Cystic Fibrosis, and he continues to champion the fight to find a cure for the inherited disorder that affects the lungs, digestive system and other internal organs.
Since Landry lost his high-school sweetheart, Mya Zimmer, in July of 2015 after she fought a long battle, he has made it a personal mission to help those still afflicted by the disorder and that included hosting the Jarvis Landry Sports Challenge at Rhodes High School in Cleveland back in July to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“That is a tremendous honor,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. “To represent anything with Walter Payton’s name on it is unbelievable. Jarvis does a good job off the field, on the field, in the classroom.
“He continues to be a leader, vocal leader and that is what we need from him. Once we get to the field, he is a pretty good player. I have been really happy with his progress from Year 1 to Year 2. Off the field, he has a passion for life, a passion for young people and kids and is a very good guy.”
In addition to his fight against Cystic Fibrosis, Landry put his name to an event and recruited top stars from the NFL and other sports to participate in a charity softball game this past summer.
Held in June at Classic Park in Eastlake, the inaugural Jarvis Landry and Friends Celebrity Softball Game benefited the Lake Health Foundation.
Alongside former Browns cornerback Joe Haden, quarterback Bernie Kosar and current running back Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, New Orleans Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore, Browns defensive back Denzel Ward, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Jordan Clarkson and two-time UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic participated in the event.
Also, Landry served as a co-chair and emcee for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s “Taste of the Browns” event at the beginning of the season and helped raise more than $350,000, which will help provide 1.4 million meals to Northeast Ohioans in need.
“Honestly, it just came from this platform, you know the platform that I have and things that I’m very passionate about,” Landry said. “Growing up, I never really had somebody that was around or in my neighborhood.
“I really came back and I could see helping, you know, help my neighborhood and my community, and I think that’s what I’ve been trying to do in every place I’ve been from being in Baton Rouge in college to going to Miami to here now in Cleveland.”