Dawan Landry saw the writing on the wall.
After the Ravens locked up kicker Billy Cundiff and punter Sam Koch to long-term deals and with the organization seeking to extend contracts with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and right guard Marshal Yanda, Landry, a strong safety who had started for the team since being drafted in the fifth round in 2006, understood that he wasn’t going to be a high priority in the offseason.
That’s why Landry – who agreed to a five-year, $27.5 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Ravens’ opponent on Monday night – said he wasn’t disappointed that the organization didn’t make a stronger effort to retain him.
“No, not really, because I knew at the same time they had a lot of guys up [for a new contract],” Landry said Thursday during a conference call with Baltimore media. “With the kicker and punter, Sam and Billy, they got signed. Marshal Yanda, I know Haloti was coming up. So no, they just had to sign guys, and unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them.”
The Ravens have a history of allowing safeties other than seven-time Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed to walk, letting Kim Herring, Will Demps and Jim Leonhard explore the free-agent market.
Reed told the Jacksonville media in a conference call Thursday that he talks frequently with Landry.
“I miss Dawan,” Reed said. “Me and him had a bond here, a chemistry here that me and him knew what it takes to work for either safety to be great safeties. You have to be on the same page, and that’s one thing me and Dawan definitely worked on while he was here, and I still talk to him about it. He understands how to play the game as a safety and what he needs to do.”
Landry was extremely valuable in run support for the Ravens. He finished second on the team with a career-best 111 tackles last season, only 34 behind Ray Lewis. Landry also led the defense with 14 tackles in the playoffs.
“I’m still playing the same style,” said Landry, who ranks third among the Jaguars in tackles with 40. “We don’t do as [many] plays as Baltimore did, but at the same time, it gives us a chance to make plays, and I’m fitting in well, I think.”
Landry will likely be quite popular before and after the game with his former teammates, but he’s trying to remain neutral about the upcoming game.
“I’m not trying to put too much emotion into it, you know?” Landry said. “Like you said, I played five years there. They have a great organization, great team. They’re doing great things right now, and it’s a formidable opponent for us coming into Jacksonville this week.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times