The Cincinnati Bengals won’t be taking on Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson this weekend. Jackson is set to miss this week’s Wild Card matchup as he continues to deal with a PCL sprain.
Jackson’s injury was sustained on December 4th and many expected him to miss only a few weeks. Jackson is on the last year of his rookie contract, with no long-term extension signed. While Baltimore can still control Jackson’s rights for the next two seasons via the franchise tag, fans and media have started to speculate whether Jackson isn’t back on the field because of the injury, or the lack of a new contract.
Debates in the media and on Twitter are one thing, but it appears the drama is starting to work its way into the Ravens locker room. Teammate Sammy Watkins recently gave an interesting statement to the Washington Post (via PFT) on Jackson’s status:
“He’s got an opportunity to win a Super Bowl,” Watkins said. “I hope he hobbles back out there. . . . Put him out for the pass plays, and don’t run him at all. But you never know. That could be wrong. I’m being very selfish right now, just to want him to be out on the field. But, man, what a great thing it would be to see 8 touch the field this Sunday, and we go out there and blow them out. But that’s for Lamar and everybody else to figure out. Hope miraculously something happens, somebody reach out to him, whether it’s a coach or somebody, and he decides to play. But that’s a question if he’s healthy or he’s not. I don’t know. I haven’t been watching him.”
Watkins’ opinion is very clear here. He ends the statement saying he hasn’t been watching Jackson, so he doesn’t know his health. Odd, because they share a locker room, training facility and medical staff. Are we expected to believe Watkins has no insight on where Jackson is?
“I pray somebody talks to him like, ‘Man, just sign the deal.’ You know what I mean? And he get out there and hopefully, if . . . he’s healthy, he can just come play this Sunday.”
Jackson suddenly deciding to take to Twitter to give an update on his injury comes with interesting timing. To this point, Jackson has been quiet about his progress. Did he decide to go public due to pressure from the coaching staff of organization to play when he doesn’t feel ready to do so?
As fans, one thing we need to remember is that our opinions are formed from an outsider’s perspective. We don’t know what conversations go on in team buildings. We don’t know the real extent of Jackson’s injury or his reasoning for not playing. The troubling part for Baltimore is that it appears nobody in the locker room is all that clear on it either.