Lamar Jackson pushes back on injury concerns, throws shade at teams on Twitter
After rocking the NFL world when he revealed Monday on Twitter that he had asked for a trade from the Ravens back on March 2, Lamar Jackson took to the social media platform again late Tuesday to push back on the notion that his contract status played into his absence from Baltimore’s wild-card round playoff game at the Cincinnati Bengals in January.
The Ravens narrowly lost that game to their division rivals without Jackson, who did not even travel with the team while continuing to rehab from a PCL sprain in his knee. Jackson missed the Ravens’ final five regular-season games after suffering the injury early in Baltimore’s Week 12 game against the Denver Broncos.
[Sharp: The success rate of first-round QBs makes Lamar Jackson’s case for him]
In follow-up tweets replying to fans, Jackson claimed his PCL was nowhere close to even “90%” healed by the wild-card game and he would have played if that were the case. He also said he received permission from the team to stay back from traveling to Cincinnati for the game because his PCL had experienced swelling during a road trip to Pittsburgh a few weeks before.
Jackson has only appeared in 12 games in each of the Ravens’ past two seasons, prompting speculation that injury concerns might factor into why so many teams are reportedly uninterested in pursuing the former NFL MVP.
[Robert Kraft: Lamar Jackson interested in Patriots per Meek Mill; up to Bill Belichick]
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, whose team drew public criticism when rumors emerged that the Falcons were out on Jackson one year after nearly swinging a blockbuster trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson, recently alluded to those concerns.
“Looking at it objectively I’d say there’s some concern over how long can he play his style of game,” Blank told reporters at the NFL’s annual meetings earlier this week.
Jackson also took a swipe at the Falcons and the other teams who are reportedly against pursuing the 26-year-old quarterback, responding to a tweet showing his stats against the coaches of those teams.
Jackson does have one prominent football coach in his corner, though — University of Colorado head coach and NFL legend Deion Sanders, who tweeted his support of Jackson early Wednesday.
The Ravens placed Jackson under the non-exclusive franchise tag earlier in March following months of strained contract extension negotiations with the former 32nd overall pick. Jackson is reportedly seeking over $200 million in guaranteed money in his next contract after Watson received an unprecedented $230 million guaranteed from the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens can match any contract offer for Jackson under the non-exclusive tag or force a team to trade them two first-round picks for his contract rights.
Despite Jackson’s trade request, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Monday he expects Jackson to remain Baltimore’s starting quarterback for the 2023 season and beyond.
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