NASHVILLE – Harold Landry III strolled down the hallway at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Thursday, his two young boys on the move in front of him, his wife doing her best to keep them under control, and happy.
Landry, on the day he signed his lucrative contract extension with the Titans, had plenty of reasons to be thankful.
He started with his wife, Danielle, for helping him reach success.
"I wouldn't be here signing this contract today without her," Landry said of his wife. "Everything she does for me, it is incredible, really, how she raises our kids, how she makes sacrifice after sacrifice to make sure I am able to handle my business with football. I am extremely thankful for her, and what she has done for me.
"She deserves so much credit for me being here today."
Landry, a second-round pick of the Titans in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Boston College, inked his new deal on Thursday before holding a press conference at the team's training facility. The outside linebacker earned his new deal with the team after racking up 12 sacks and 49 quarterback pressures in 2021.
The sack total ranked 10th in the NFL and led the team, and it finished off a four-year stretch in which Landry accumulated a team-high 31 sacks, the second-highest total by a Titans/Oilers player in his first four NFL seasons since 1982, when individual sacks became an official NFL statistic 1982 (37 by Jevon Kearse).
On the day he signed his contract, Landry reflected on his path to the NFL, while thanking those around him.
Born and raised in Spring Lake, N.C., just down the road from Fort Bragg U.S. Army military base, Landry said his parents, Doreen and Harold Landry, sacrificed back then just like his wife does now to give him a chance to be successful.
Landry's dad was a FexEx driver, his mother worked in IT support. Landry said his parents sometimes worked multiple jobs so he and his sister had everything they needed.
"I'll be honest: I've never had a job my whole life besides football," Landry said with a smile. "I am so grateful to the parents that I have, because they did everything they had to do to make sure I could just focus on sports and football.
"As a kid growing up, every day, as soon as the sun came up, we were outside playing sports, and we didn't come home until the street lights came on. It was sports, sports, sports."
Landry's goal back then?
"I always wanted to make my parents proud, whether it was football, baseball or basketball," Landry said. "I just always wanted to put smiles on their faces. As I got older and got to high school it was the same thing.
"My motivation, it was simple: I wanted to be the best."
Landry earned All-America and all-state honors at Pine Forest (Fayetteville, N.C.) High School, and he also earned a scholarship to Boston College.
Once there, Landry said he got really serious about putting himself in a position to have an NFL career.
Landry recorded 26 sacks while at Boston College, which put him on the radar of NFL teams. The Titans picked him 41st overall in 2018.
And then, over the past four years with the Titans, Landry has emerged as one of the NFL's best pass rushers. At the same time, his family has grown as well. Harold and Danielle, who met while at Boston College, have two sons – Greyson (4) and Ollie (2).
"I feel like these past four years, they have been amazing, to be honest," Landry said. "Obviously there's ups and downs – you play this game long enough you are going to experience a whole bunch of different things. And I feel like I have experienced a lot in my four years here, and it's done nothing but take me to the next level, and make me a better player for it.
"I feel like I have grown so much as a player, and as a man, the past four years."
From 2018 to 2021, Landry joined Pittsburgh's Cameron Heyward as the NFL's only players to be credited with at least 250 tackles, 30 sacks and two interceptions. His 12-sack season in 2021 was the highest total by a Titans player since Jason Babin reached 12.5 sacks in 2010. Landry also tied for second on the squad with 75 tackles, ranked second with a career-high 49 quarterback pressures, led the team with 14 tackles for loss, and added a forced fumble. He joined Micah Parsons, Aaron Donald and Heyward as the only NFL players in 2021 to post at least 75 tackles and 10 sacks.
Landry said he won't let up now.
Money, he said, won't change him.
He's thrilled to remain in Nashville, because he said it's where is family is happy.
The Titans, of course, are sure happy to have him.
"My motivation," Landry said, "is when I step on the field, I want to be considered the best player on the field. So, that is the motivation. The money, I am extremely blessed and grateful that this organization believes in me, and gave me this contract. But I feel like the money is a byproduct of the work that I put in to achieve the goal of being considered one of the best players in the NFL.
"All of this, I am just feeling so blessed and grateful and thankful for the life that I get to live and experience, with the awesome family that I have. … And I am so thankful that this organization has the faith and trust they have in me. I am just extremely grateful and thankful for all of this."