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Youngest Landry set for NFL challenge

LaRon Landry, who will work out in the combine this week, has strong sibling rivalries.

INDIANAPOLIS — LaRon Landry vividly recalls those fierce competitions with his two older brothers. Perhaps it would start with a pickup basketball game and carry over to football practice.

Whatever the challenge, Landry welcomed it — even if he occasionally got beaten up.

“We were always competitive and that started way before high school,” Landry recalled Sunday. “We really went at it all the time and it was always let the best man win.”

So why would the 22-year-old former LSU safety bother backing down from the next great bout in this sibling rivalry?

He’s not. When: April 28. Where: National television. What: The NFL draft. The stakes: A chance to cement his place in the family record book.

Derik Landry, the oldest of the three brothers, played at Vanderbilt but never reached the NFL.

Dawan Landry, the middle brother, played at Georgia Tech and was taken by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round last year. He emerged as yet another member of that strong ’06 rookie class, finishing with 69 tackles, five interceptions and three sacks for the AFC North champs.

In any other year, Landry’s performance probably would have warranted consideration for the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year award. In his backyard, it may not warrant bragging rights.

LaRon Landry already owns one prize his brothers don’t — a national championship ring — and he’ll likely add another chapter to his resume in two months. He’s projected as a first-round pick and could reinforce that impression with a good workout at the NFL scouting combine here.

Take that, brothers.

“He (Dawan) visited me twice when I was working out in Florida,” LaRon Landry said. “We’d go over some things about coming here, so he’s played a real influential role in helping me get ready for the combine.”

Landry finds himself in good company this week, just among the defensive backs.

There’s safety Michael Johnson of Arizona, whose brother, Reggie, played with the Detroit Lions in the 1990s. There’s safety Nedu Ndukwe, whose much bigger brother, Ikechuku, played most recently with the Ravens. There’s cornerback Josh Wilson of Maryland, whose father, Tim, was the lead back for Hall of Famer Earl Campbell in Houston.

And the second part of the Irons brothers, cornerback David, is now in Indy, too. Highly touted running back Kenny Irons arrived Friday. NFL officials said they believed it was the first time in combine history that brothers were being tested at the same time.

Let the taunting begin.

“I’m determined to beat him out,” said David Irons, referring to the 40-yard dash. “I’m going to try to watch his 40, to see what he runs. If he runs a 4.4, I told him that’s not going to win.”

Wilson has the most compelling legacy.

His father died in 1996 after suffering a heart attack, and the younger Wilson, then 11, admittedly struggled through his adolescent years without a father.

So he found other ways to immortalize his dad. There’s the beat-up football card in his wallet and a tattoo of his father’s picture on his chest with the words: “Forever in my heart.”

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