On the issue of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s absence from the OTAs, coach John Harbaugh told Jackson, “It’s up to him to speak for himself.”
He has. Kind of.
Reacting to an excerpt from our recent discussion on the situation Live PFTduring which Chris Simms argued that if Jackson aspires to be this generation’s Tom Brady, he should be there, Jackson said this“Lamar wants to be Lamar Chris. This part of the OTAs is voluntary, man I’ll be there, but not under your supervision, it’s probably other QBs who also don’t participate in the voluntary OTAs, but since it’s Lamar, that’s a big deal . Find something else to talk about.
We discussed every starting quarterback who is absent from OTAs. Some are absent for professional reasons. Reigning two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers is out for no reason. (Rodgers was called quite aggressively on Friday Live PFT for not participating in the effort to upgrade the new receiving corps.)
With Jackson, the problem is less that he’s not there and more that it’s just the final chapter in the mystery that Jackson deliberately or accidentally created. By stubbornly refusing to commit to a team that wants to make him one of the highest-paid players in NFL history, Jackson has baffled many league insiders and observers. And if Jackson isn’t committing to the team because he’s so committed to his craft, why isn’t he around for off-season practices where much of the offensive playbook for the season to come is installed?
It’s unconventional to the point of being unprecedented. The Ravens want to pay him. He won’t tell her. In doing so, he willingly accepts the risk that injury or inefficiency will make him less attractive to the Ravens or another team.
He insists he doesn’t want to go out. His actions suggest otherwise.
It’s great if he works with a personal mechanic trainer. But those practices represent a handful of opportunities to work with the offense, which will continue without Hollywood Brown in 2022, under the supervision and direction of the coaching staff. Lamar can, frankly, do both.
Finally, as to his request/demand that we “find something else to discuss,” we must respectfully decline his editorial advice. Lamar is a former MVP. He is one of the most important players in the NFL. When he chooses not to show up for off-season practices, it’s newsworthy.
The comments Chris made about Jackson represent fair criticism, not trolling. Fair criticism is part of being a top athlete in a top sport.
It goes with the territory. Territory that will give generational wealth to Jackson. If he’ll just reach out and grab it before the window closes, without warning.